The San Francisco 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Preseason. Niner Noise has your live in-game thread, with scores, news and analysis — and discuss the game with writers and fans in the comments section!
After six long months, football was back for the San Francisco 49ers, who hosted the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL Preseason.
The matchup between these two NFC rivals was televised nationally on NFL Network. If you were in the Bay Area, the game was blacked out on NFL Network, but you could catch the game on your local CBS affiliate, KPIX 5, or online via the free live stream at 49ers.com.
With a full offseason under his belt, Garoppolo finally had head coach Kyle Shanahan’s entire playbook at his disposal. San Francisco’s new franchise QB also had the opportunity to utilize a number of new offensive weapons, including running back Jerick McKinnon, rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis and wideout Pierre Garcon, who returned from injury.
Niner fans will have to wait to see former Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman in red and gold, as the veteran continued to nurse an injured hamstring. Rookie linebacker Fred Warner, who is in competition for a starting job at inside linebacker, was a surprising late scratch.
Other notable inactive players included defensive end Arik Armstead, wide receiver Trent Taylor, cornerback K’Waun Williams, linebacker Brock Coyle and offensive linemen Jonathan Cooper and Joshua Garnett.
For a full preview and breakdown of the San Francisco 49ers’ first preseason game, including positional competitions and key players to watch, check out our 49ers Preseason Week 1 preview.
Niner Noise is your home for live in-game updates and analysis throughout this, and every San Francisco 49ers game. Stay with us throughout the matchup, and be sure to discuss the game with Niner Noise contributors and fellow fans in the comments section at the bottom of the article.
The Dallas Cowboys started the game with the ball, and drove down the field, while mostly relying on their running game. Quarterback Dak Prescott then hit rookie wideout Michael Gallup with a 30-yard strike, with 49ers’ defensive back Jimmie Ward in coverage:
In Garoppolo’s lone drive, he converted two long third-down attempts — the first to rookie wide receiver Richie James, and the second to WR Marquise Goodwin — before completing a 7-yard reception on a third-and-16, forcing the team to punt.
With the backup quarterbacks in the game, both teams traded three-and-outs — and field position — over the remainder of the first quarter. The 49ers’ pass rush was strong, while the secondary — particularly Ward — looked suspect. Ward could potentially learn from LB Reuben Foster, who was effective in coverage against speedster Tavon Austin.
Both linebacker Malcolm Smith and defensive end Solomon Thomas were removed from the game due to injury. Tight end George Kittle and backup RB Matt Breida also left the field with shoudler injuries.
The 49ers moved the ball into the Cowboys’ red zone on their opening drive of the second quarter, with WR Kendrick Bourne moving the sticks on a third-and-long:
WR Aldrick Robinson also made a nice 33-yard reception after failing to catch his first two targets of the game. QB C.J. Beathard unfortunately threw an interception on the following play.
After another pair of three-and-outs, the Cowboys drove down to the 49ers’ 1-yard line on seven plays. The Niners’ defense held Dallas out of the end zone on first and second down, before RB Bo Scarbrough barely reached the goal line for the Cowboys’ second score of the game.
The 49ers finally responded with a 10-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a short touchdown run by RB Joe Williams:
The key play of the drive was a veteran move by Bourne, who drew a 21-yard pass interference penalty on an underthrown third-down pass attempt from Beathard.
The 49ers opened the second half with a 53-yard reception by Pettis, who worked his way behind Dallas’ secondary, but had to wait on Beathard’s underthrown pass:
After a short rush attempt and two incomplete passes, the Niners were forced to settle for a field goal from kicker Robbie Gould.
The teams once again traded three-and-outs, before the Cowboys mounted a drive that began with a breakdown in the San Francisco secondary, and ended with a 2-yard touchdown reception by WR Lance Lenoir.
On the following drive, running back Raheem Mostert provided the team with a couple impressive runs before fumbling the ball once the 49ers reached field-goal range.
The Cowboys were unable to capitalize on the 49ers’ second turnover, but the Niners gave the ball back again when quarterback Nick Mullens’ pass was tipped at the line on the following drive. Fortunately for San Francisco, the Cowboys’ next drive resulted in a missed field goal attempt.
Dallas continued to load the box and challenge the 49ers to throw the ball down the field. Mullens finally obliged with a 24-yard toss to Bolden:
After three hard runs by RB Jeremy McNichols, San Francisco reached the end zone for the second time in the game, but Williams was stuffed on the subsequent two-point try.
The 49ers’ run defense put the team in position to get the ball back with ample time to score, but a pair of missed tackles on third down gave the Cowboys a fresh set of downs. However, defensive lineman Jullian Taylor’s sack three plays later forced Dallas to punt, giving the Niners one last chance at a game-winning drive.
After five straight completions, along with a short pass interference penalty, the 49ers had the ball on the Cowboys’ 7-yard line with 21 seconds remaining. When Mullens found James on a slant, the receiver held on to the pass after absorbing a big hit at the goal line, and the Niners took their first lead of the game:
After a successful two-point try by San Francisco, the Cowboys started their final drive from their 25-yard line with 18 seconds remaining on the clock. Four plays later, time expired, giving the 49ers’ their first preseason victory:
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