In their first preseason game, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 24-21, thanks to an exciting fourth quarter comeback. Niner Noise has your full position grades and analysis from this injury-riddled contest.
The San Francisco 49ers were victorious in their first game of the 2018 NFL Preseason, but the win over the Dallas Cowboys came at a price, as many key players sustained injuries during the game.
Each team’s starting quarterback played just one drive in the contest. Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott finished his drive with a 30-yard touchdown pass, while San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo converted two long third-down attempts before the 49ers were forced to punt.
Dallas found the end zone again in the second quarter, before the 49ers finally mounted a scoring drive, which ended with a touchdown run by running back Joe Williams:
The 49ers continued to outplay the Cowboys in most aspects of the game, but three costly turnovers kept San Francisco from striking distance until the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
RB Jeremy McNichols fought his way into the end zone three plays later. After the 49ers stopped the Cowboys on their subsequent drive — thanks to a key sack by rookie defensive lineman Jullian Taylor — San Francisco had one last chance to win the game.
Mullens was extremely effective in the Niners’ two-minute drill, completing five straight passes before a pass interference penalty gave the quarterback an opportunity to call a play from the huddle. The play call proved effective, as Mullens hit rookie wideout Richie James on a slant route that the receiver took into the end zone for the game-winning score.
The 49ers’ injuries during the game are still being evaluated, but tight end George Kittle‘s shoulder injury appeared to be the worst of the bunch. Backup RB Matt Breida also injured his shoulder and did not return.
Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas and tackle Garry Gilliam both left the game with head injuries, and linebacker Malcolm Smith — who missed all of the 2017 season — sustained an injury to his hamstring.
Now, for the game grades. Each week, Niner Noise breaks down and grades the performance of each position group. Let’s start with the San Francisco 49ers’ offense: