Top 5 takeaways from 49ers' 23-6 win over Cowboys
Some good, some bad
The 49ers’ defense and special teams scored touchdowns Sunday night in the team’s 23-6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in the second exhibition game for both teams. Meanwhile, the 49ers' offense still has some work ahead of it. Here are the top five takeaways from Week 2 of the preseason...
5) Arik Armstead shows promise
The 49ers’ first-round draft pick again saw a lot of action. And he did not appear to wear down like he did in the exhibition opener against the Houston Texans. Armstead had three quarterback pressures, including disrupting a pass that resulted in Mike Purcell’s interception return for a touchdown. Armstead also batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage. With the veteran depth and talent, it will be difficult for Armstead to win a spot on the D-line rotation, but the 49ers have to be encouraged by what they have seen.
4) Run over pass
The 49ers attempted 38 runs (averaging 4.1 yards per carry) and just 20 passes, including three sacks. Colin Kaepernick, Blaine Gabbert and Dylan Thompson combined for a meager 2.5 yards per attempt. It was a mixed bag for Kaepernick. He could have avoided a 14-yard sack, but his back-shoulder throw to Torrey Smith was on the money. Sometimes, you have to give credit to a good defensive play. The 49ers are still looking for a No. 3 wide receiver to emerge to pair with Smith and Anquan Boldin.
3) Hayne's gains
Within seconds of stepping onto the field for the first time, Jarryd Hayne made a Willie Mays-esque over-the-shoulder catch of a 66-yard punt. He routinely makes the gunner miss and then shows an impressive straight-line burst up the field. Hayne averaged 28.0 yards on three punt returns and also rushed for a game-high 54 yards. There seems to be little question that Hayne is the 49ers’ best return option. Bruce Ellington has not been healthy. Now, Ellington and Kendall Hunter have uncertain futures with the 49ers because of Hayne’s emergence.
2) Offensive line remains unsettled
Marcus Martin made his second start at right guard. He gave up a pressure that led to a sack and also missed a block that resulted in a loss on a run play. Brandon Thomas’ stock has dropped. He lined up at left guard with the third-team offense. Rookie Ian Silberman got a shot at right guard with the second team. Newcomer Jordan Devey had a solid debut at right guard with the third unit. Veteran Erik Pears remains as the starter at right tackle. The 49ers have some issues on the right side of the line that need to be addressed before the start of the regular season.
1) Bowman as good as ever?
NaVorro Bowman was on the field for only three plays, but he showed the same athleticism that enabled him to achieve first-team All-Pro status three seasons in a row prior to the severe knee injury that wiped out his 2014 season. But what really stood out about Bowman’s first game in 19 months was the mental aspect. He read his keys flawlessly and had the physical ability to make the plays. On third down, he faked a blitz to bait Tony Romo into throwing quickly to the left side. Then, Bowman had the speed to quickly cover the ground to stop running back Lance Dunbar for a one-yard loss. Bowman’s return could be exactly what the 49ers’ defense needs.