The San Francisco 49ers (1-0) came out of the gates blazing as they scored their first touchdown off a fumble recovery with just 0:54 seconds into the game. A play that was made possible as OLB Dan Skuta stripped the ball from Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, it was fourth-year CB Chris Culliver who benefited, as he scooped the ball up and then taking it to the house for a 35-yard touchdown. After taking an early 7-0 lead, the 49ers would strike once again as QB Colin Kaepernick connected with TE Vernon Davis on a 29-yard wheel-route just minutes later.
A play that was made possible as 49ers WR Anquan Boldin had two catches for 44 yards including a 37-yard post-route, it was Boldin who helped bring the 49ers within striking distance on that drive. Just when you thought the 49ers would cool off, they didn’t. With 4:53 seconds left in the first-quarter, Cowboys QB Tony Romo made a poor decision as he tried to threat the needle to WR Dez Bryant on a dig-route (6-route). Why was it a poor decision? Aside from Romo throwing in triple coverage, he clearly left his wide-receiver “hanging” as Bryant was lit up like a Christmas tree by SS Antoine Bethea in the middle. What made matters worse was that FS Eric Reid was playing zone and essentially was given an early Christmas present by Romo as Reid intercepted the ball and then returned it 48 yards to the Cowboys two-yard line.
From there it was back deja vu all over again as Davis scored his second touchdown in as many catches as he benefited from a very vanilla play-action pass. The Cowboys who were thinking run clearly sold out as Davis “leaked” after his initial block for a corner-route (7-route) touchdown. The 49ers took a commanding 21-3 lead and never relinquished it thanks to Kaepernick.
A quarterback who was gaining criticism for his poor season play, I thought he would do just fine as I predicted him to have a stat line similar to 16 of 24 for 215 yards and two touchdowns as I said, “With Kaepernick getting heat from many Bay Area fans, I can assure you he will be just fine on Sunday as he had his way against Marinelli’s defense in his first career-start (Chicago Bears), and he will do the same this time around, as I predict him to complete around 16 of 24 passes for 215 yards and two touchdowns.”
What was his stat line you ask? Pretty close as he went 16 of 23 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. From improvising on the run or finding his open receivers downfield, Kaepernick looked poised beyond his years as he lived up to Forever Faithful’s expectations in Week 1.
However, the 49ers passing game wasn’t the only one getting hot, as the 49ers power heavy run-scheme proved their worth. Led by 10-year veteran RB Frank Gore and rookie second-round pick (No. 57) RB Carlos Hyde, the two would go on and have a great game as Gore rushed 16 times for 66 yards all while hitting the 10,000 rushing-yard milestone. Hyde on the other hand was clearly the better rusher however, as finished with seven carries for 50 yards (7.1 avg.) and one touchdown. A stat line I predicted as I said, “Both Gore and Hyde are patient runners which in turn allows plays to develop and that’s where their success will come from. Gore had a modest outing in their last meeting as he rushed 20 times for 47 yards and one touchdown. Look for that to change this time around as the 49ers incorporate Hyde into the mix while easily topping 120 yards rushing.” And the 49ers did just that as they finished with 30 carries for 127 rushing yards.
While the offense did their part it was the 49ers defense that set the tone. They made the first turnover, scored the first points and basically kept the game in check. From recording three interceptions to sacking Romo three times, it was the defense that played lights out. And while the secondary was banged up as both starting cornerbacks left the game in the first-half, others picked up the slack as CB Perrish Cox and DB Jimmie Ward held their own. Not to mention, 14-year veteran DE Justin Smith was back to his 2011 form, as he recorded six tackles, 2.0 sacks and two tackles for loss, the 49ers defense is looking just fine despite what NFL analysts may say. To put that in perspective they allowed just 17 points, the only stat that matters in my books!
A game that was basically over in the first-quarter, the 49ers did NOT play down to their competition and would easily go on and manage the rest of the way with ease as they won the game in convincing fashion, 28-17.