|Date of game: 9/7/2014
Recap: Dallas vs. San Francisco
Arlington, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - San Francisco picked off Tony Romo three straight times, and the 49ers opened the 2014 season with a convincing 28-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Despite playing without two of their top linebackers, the 49ers turned four Dallas turnovers into 21 points. Outside linebacker Aldon Smith is serving a nine-game suspension for violating the drug policy, while inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman is out while he recovers from a torn ACL in his left knee.
"This game was about steel in the spine. When it comes to 49er players, that's where they excel," said San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh.
Colin Kaepernick went 16-of-23 for 201 yards with a pair of touchdown passes to Vernon Davis, while Frank Gore and rookie Carlos Hyde combined for 113 yards on the ground for the 49ers (1-0), who lost to Seattle in last season's NFC Championship game. Hyde also scored his first NFL touchdown.
As mentioned, Romo threw interceptions on three straight possessions for the first time in his career. He finished the game 23-of-37 for 281 yards and one touchdown along with the three picks.
"It's a simple game. You can't give a team like that four opportunities by giving the ball away," said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett.
DeMarco Murray carried the ball 22 times for 118 yards and a touchdown for the Cowboys (0-1), who went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
The 49ers took the lead before their offense had even set foot on the field, as Chris Culliver recovered a Murray fumble and took it into the end zone from 35 yards out for a 7-0 lead just three plays into the game.
Dallas responded with a 69-yard drive that stalled at the San Francisco 11. Dan Bailey booted a 29-yard field goal to make it a 7-3 game.
It took just three plays for San Francisco to answer, as Anquan Boldin caught a 37-yard pass and Davis followed that with a 29-yard catch in the end zone for a 14-3 lead with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter.
Romo was intercepted for the first time by Eric Reid, who returned the ball 48 yards down to the Dallas 2. On the next play, Kaepernick tossed a pass into the end zone that was hauled in by Davis for a 21-3 lead.
Dallas went on another long drive and got down to the San Fran 5, but Romo lofted a soft toss into the end zone on a roll out that was picked off by Patrick Willis.
The Cowboys' next possession saw Romo get picked off again, as his deep bomb was grabbed by Perrish Cox.
San Francisco turned that interception into points, as the nine-play, 64-yard drive was finished off on a 4-yard touchdown run by Hyde for a 28-3 lead going into the break.
On their second possession of the third quarter, the Cowboys found the end zone as Murray took a handoff up the middle from two yards out on 4th-and-1 to make it a 28-10 game.
Phil Dawson pushed a 37-yard field goal attempt wide with 5 1/2 minutes to play, and the Cowboys took advantage of the opportunity, as the team went 73 yards in 11 plays, with Romo capping the drive on a 2-yard scoring pass to Terrance Williams to make it a 28-17 game.
The score came with under two minutes to play, though, and the 49ers recovered the ensuing onsides kick and ran out the clock.Game Notes
It was the first time San Francisco scored 21 points in the first quarter
since a game against the Vikings on Dec. 18, 1995 ... Gore went over 10,000
career rushing yards in the game ... The Cowboys had won the past three games
against the 49ers, and San Francisco holds a 15-11-1 lead in the series ...
San Francisco hosts Chicago next week ... Dallas plays in Tennessee next