Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' 24-17 loss to Cowboys
How will they respond?
The 49ers blew a two-touchdown lead in the final five minutes of the first half and went on to a 24-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday. The 49ers dropped their third straight after opening with a 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams – a team that has reeled off three consecutive wins after the opening week of the season. The 49ers’ season appears to be teetering on the brink with the injuries and losses piling up.
5) No more Bow
The crushing part of Sunday’s game was not so much the loss in the standings, as the 49ers fell to 1-3. The 49ers’ spirits sunk even lower upon realization that four-time first-team All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman would be lost for the remainder of the season due to a torn left Achilles. A grueling six- to eight-month rehabilitation is in front of Bowman to return to action next season. Now, the 49ers move forward with Michael Wilhoite, Nick Bellore, Gerald Hodges and Shayne Skov at inside linebacker. The 49ers are already without Ray-Ray Armstrong, who is out for the season with a torn pectoral.
4) Quick turnaround
The 49ers do not have much time to regroup. The coaching staff slept at the office in Santa Clara on Sunday night to put in all the work necessary to finalize their game plan to face the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night. “That’s just the nature of what you’ve got to do on a short week,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said. “So I guess they think because we don’t have to do anything on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we can catch up on sleep then.” The Cardinals are reeling, too. Arizona is 1-3, and quarterback Carson Palmer is questionable as he returns from a concussion.
3) Robinson steps up
If you’re looking for a bright spot, it is this: Rookie cornerback Rashard Robinson looks like the real deal. The 49ers have invested heavily in that position in recent drafts. The 49ers have selected seven cornerbacks in the past three years. Robinson was chosen two spots ahead of where the Dallas Cowboys picked quarterback Dak Prescott. Robinson is tall and feisty. In his first NFL start, Robinson broke up three passes and was the best player on the team. He appears to have a promising future.
2) Gabbert-Smith lacking
Wide receiver Torrey Smith threw his helmet in disgust as he got to the sideline after quarterback Blaine Gabbert missed him badly on a fourth-quarter throw that should have resulted in a touchdown. The 49ers’ passing game is toothless. Smith is solely a deep threat, but Gabbert can’t get the ball deep. Smith’s frustration a year ago was obviously directed at Colin Kaepernick’s inability to get the ball to him. Now, Smith appears just as angry about how he is a non-factor in the offense with Gabbert at the controls.
1) Disappointing D-line
General manager Trent Baalke invested heavily in the defensive line over the past couple of years with top draft picks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner, and a long-term extension for Quinton Dial. But this unit has been shoved around in the run game. Ezekiel Elliott is the third consecutive 100-yard rusher against the 49ers. The loss of Ian Williams is proving to be huge, as nose tackle Mike Purcell has not been stout at the point of attack.