San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas Cowboys

SF
28
DAL
17
FINAL
1234T
SF 2170028
DAL 307717

Tony Romo threw three interceptions as the 49ers offence rolled to a massive lead in the first quarter and held on for a win.

0:31 | September 7, 2014 | Dallas Cowboys, Football, NFL, San Francisco 49ers

Game Information
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Attendance: 91,174

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco 49ers can put a tumultuous offseason behind them. They have a rusty Tony Romo to thank for making the opener a little easier.

Kaepernick threw two touchdown passes to Vernon Davis, one after the first of three interceptions from Romo, and the 49ers cruised to a 28-17 win over the sloppy Cowboys on Sunday.

The 49ers (1-0) came in with questions about their defense, missing key players because of injuries or suspensions. Defensive tackle Ray McDonald got the start just a week after his arrest in a domestic violence case.

The secondary put all those issues to rest, getting Chris Culliver's 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown on the second play of the game and two of the Romo picks on their way to a 28-3 halftime lead.

"There's been a lot of rhetoric," said coach Jim Harbaugh, who improved to 4-0 in season openers. "This game was about steel in the spine. When it comes to 49er players, that's where they excel."

For one game, it didn't matter that linebacker Aldon Smith will miss the first nine games on a suspension over off-the-field issues and fellow linebacker NaVorro Bowman is out until midseason because of a knee injury.

After Culliver picked up a loose ball stripped from DeMarco Murray and ran untouched for a score, safety Eric Reid returned Romo's first interception 48 yards to the Dallas 2, setting up Kaepernick's second scoring toss to Davis.

"Our front seven did a good job getting pressure on the quarterback, and the secondary played well," Reid said.

Romo looked like a quarterback who was limited in the offseason and training camp, not a good start for a team trying to avoid tying a franchise record with a fifth straight year of missing the playoffs.

He didn't see Reid on a throw to Dez Bryant, then didn't see wide-open receiver Dwayne Harris for what would have been an easy touchdown. Instead he forced a pass to Jason Witten that was intercepted by Patrick Willis in the end zone.

The picks kept coming even after starting San Francisco cornerbacks Tramaine Brock (toe) and Culliver (concussion) had been knocked out of the game. Backup Perrish Cox had his second career interception when Romo threw deep to Bryant in double coverage.

"I felt comfortable," said Romo, who threw for 281 yards and a late touchdown. "Just couple poor decisions that I made tonight."

It didn't take Kaepernick long to put that rough preseason behind him, leading the 49ers 80 yards in just three plays on their first possession. He stepped out of an ankle tackle by Jeremy Mincey and threw 29 yards on the run to Davis, who juggled the ball as the crossed the goal line before holding on for a 14-3 lead.

The 49ers also had an efficient drive in their 2-minute offense to finish the first half, with Kaepernick throwing for 39 yards leading to Carlos Hyde's 4-yard scoring run for a 28-3 halftime lead.

"Everyone was ready to get to the season, ready to play and ready to start putting these wins together," said Kaepernick, who was 16 of 23 for 201 yards without an interception.

When Romo wasn't throwing interceptions, the Dallas offense was getting false-start penalties and using timeouts to avoid delay-of-game penalties.

Part of the problem was the noise from large swaths of red-clad 49ers fans seeing their team for the first time in the regular season in the $1.2 billion home of the Cowboys.

"I noticed that," Harbaugh said of the crowd. "Much appreciated. Means a lot."

Murray bounced back from the fumble on his first carry of the season to get 71 yards in the first quarter and 118 with a touchdown for the game.

But he didn't get the ball on second-and-1 from the San Francisco 2 with a chance to tie the score early. Instead, Romo was sacked and Dallas settled for a field goal.

NOTES: 49ers RB Frank Gore had 63 yards rushing, becoming the 29th NFL player with 10,000 for his career. He's also the 10th player with 10,000 yards and 10 seasons with the same team. ... Bryant stayed down for several moments after Reid's interception return and later was treated for dehydration. He had four catches for 55 yards. ... Davis now has 53 receiving touchdowns, most of the NFL since 2009, playoffs included. Detroit WR Calvin Johnson, who plays Monday night, has 52. ... Cowboys S C.J. Spillman and LB Justin Durant left the game with groin injuries. ... The Cowboys lost for the first time (11-1) when Murray, a fourth-year back, had at least 20 carries.

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1st Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail 49ers Cowboys
14:06 Chris Culliver 35 yd opp fumble return (Phil Dawson kick) 7 0
07:22 Dan Bailey 29 yd FG 7 3
05:54 Vernon Davis 29 yd pass from Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson kick) 14 3
04:25 Vernon Davis 2 yd pass from Colin Kaepernick (Phil Dawson kick) 21 3

2nd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail 49ers Cowboys
00:39 Carlos Hyde 4 yd run (Phil Dawson kick) 28 3

3rd Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail 49ers Cowboys
00:29 DeMarco Murray 2 yd run (Dan Bailey kick) 28 10

4th Quarter Summary
Time Team Play Detail 49ers Cowboys
01:52 Terrance Williams 2 yd pass from Tony Romo (Dan Bailey kick) 28 17

Team Stats
  San Francisco Dallas
1st Downs 19 26
Total Yards 319 382
Passing 192 255
Passing Completions/Attempts 16-23 23-37
Yards/Pass 8.0 6.4
Rushing 127 127
Rushing Attempts 30 23
Yards/Rush 4.2 5.5
Turnovers 0 4
Fumbles Lost 0 1
Interceptions Thrown 0 3
Possession 28:36 31:24

San Francisco Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Colin Kaepernick 16 23 201 8.7 2 0

Dallas Passing
Player CP ATT YDS AVG TD INT
Tony Romo 23 37 281 7.6 1 3

San Francisco Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
Frank Gore 16 66 4.1 0 20
Carlos Hyde 7 50 7.1 1 15
Colin Kaepernick 5 11 2.2 0 8
LaMichael James 2 0 0.0 0 1

Dallas Rushing
Player ATT YDS AVG TD LG
DeMarco Murray 22 118 5.4 1 15
Dwayne Harris 1 9 9.0 0 9

San Francisco Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Anquan Boldin 8 99 12.4 0 37
Vernon Davis 4 44 11.0 2 29
Stevie Johnson 2 33 16.5 0 21
Michael Crabtree 2 25 12.5 0 13
Bruce Miller 0 0 0.0 0
Brandon Lloyd 0 0 0.0 0

Dallas Receiving
Player REC YDS AVG TD LG
Dwayne Harris 1 56 56.0 0 56
Dez Bryant 4 55 13.8 0 20
Terrance Williams 4 50 12.5 1 21
Cole Beasley 4 42 10.5 0 13
DeMarco Murray 3 25 8.3 0 13
Lance Dunbar 3 21 7.0 0 11
Devin Street 2 18 9.0 0 9
Jason Witten 2 14 7.0 0 7
Gavin Escobar 0 0 0.0 0

San Francisco Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Antoine Bethea 6 0 0 0
Patrick Willis 6 0 0 0
Justin Smith 4 2 2 20
Eric Reid 4 0 0 0
Tramaine Brock 3 0 0 0
Perrish Cox 3 0 0 0
Ray McDonald 3 0 0 0
Michael Wilhoite 3 1 0 0
Dontae Johnson 2 0 0 0
Corey Lemonier 2 1 0 0
Dan Skuta 2 0 0 0
Ahmad Brooks 1 0 1 6
Chris Culliver 1 1 0 0
Demarcus Dobbs 1 1 0 0
Jimmie Ward 1 0 0 0
Chris Borland 0 0 0 0
Craig Dahl 0 0 0 0
Tony Jerod-Eddie 0 1 0 0
Aaron Lynch 0 0 0 0
Ian Williams 0 2 0 0

Dallas Defense
Player TACKLES ASST SACKS SACK YDS
Justin Durant 7 1 0 0
Rolando McClain 7 1 0 0
Brandon Carr 4 0 0 0
Bruce Carter 3 2 1 9
Sterling Moore 3 1 0 0
Barry Church 2 3 0 0
Morris Claiborne 2 1 0 0
Davon Coleman 2 0 0 0
Nick Hayden 2 1 0 0
J.J. Wilcox 2 1 0 0
Tyrone Crawford 1 0 0 0
Dez Bryant 0 0 0 0
Travis Frederick 0 0 0 0
Jeff Heath 0 0 0 0
Anthony Hitchens 0 1 0 0
Jeremy Mincey 0 1 0 0
George Selvie 0 1 0 0

San Francisco Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
Eric Reid 1 48 0
Perrish Cox 1 0 0
Patrick Willis 1 0 0

Dallas Interceptions
Player INT YDS TD
No interceptions.

San Francisco Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
No kick return stats.

Dallas Kick Returns
Player KR YDS AVG TD LNG
Dwayne Harris 2 58 29.0 0 30

San Francisco Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Bruce Ellington 1 13 13.0 0 13

Dallas Punt Returns
Player PR YDS AVG TD LNG
Dwayne Harris 2 0 0.0 0 0

San Francisco Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Phil Dawson 0 1 0.0

Dallas Kicking
Player FGM FGA PCT LG
Dan Bailey 1 1 100.0 29

San Francisco Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Andy Lee 4 183 54

Dallas Punting
Player PUNTS YDS LG
Chris Jones 2 107 56