If you watched tonight's preseason opener to see the Cowboys win, you came away disappointed. But if you were just wanting to see early positives from key players, you didn't mind watching Dallas give up 14 points in the 4th quarter and fall late to the San Francisco 49ers.
Most of the players who gave up that 20-10 lead won't make Dallas' 53-man roster this year. Rather, it was the crew who had the Cowboys up 14-0 in the 2nd quarter that will comprise most of our 2018 squad.
Quarterback Dak Prescott only saw one series in tonight's game, and QB1 was a perfect 3-for-3 for 39 yards and a touchdown strike to rookie Michael Gallup. Dak also had a 12-yard run to convert a 3rd down and keep the opening drive alive.
Gallup's 30-yard touchdown catch was his only one of the night, but it was a great start to his Cowboys career. The third-round pick left his man in the rear view as Prescott dropped the ball in perfectly to put Dallas up early.
On defense, franchised stud DeMarcus Lawrence was disruptive early despite not registering a sack. Solid play all around from the Cowboys' first and second-team defenders kept the 49ers scoreless until just before halftime.
- With Ezekiel Elliott sitting out tonight, several running backs were used. Rod Smith started the game and had 32 yards on eight carries. Bo Scarbrough 33 yards and a goal-line touchdown on his nine touches. Darius Jackson played later in the game, rushing for 21 yards on six carries.
- The ball got spread around as no Dallas player had more than two catches out of the team's 24 total receptions. Lance Lenoir had the other touchdown catch, dragging his toes while diving out of the endzone to catch a pass from Cooper Rush.
- Rush got the most playing time of the Cowboys QBs, going 15/23 for 145 yards and the one touchdown. He wasn't quite as sharp or brilliant as we saw last preseason, missing a couple of opportunities, but was also under a lot of pressure. Overall it was a good showing from the second-year backup.
- One reason for Cooper's struggles was our old friend Chaz Green, who struggled at right tackle with the second unit. Already on the bubble, Chaz didn't appear to help his job security with several blown blocking assignments.
- Rookie guard Connor Williams got shown up on one of the first plays of the game, getting beat by DeForest Buckner and allowing Dak Prescott to get sacked. That was only the clear letdown from Connor, though, as Dallas recovered to score on the drive.
- The Cowboys defense had two interceptions off tipped balls. Free agent Linebacker Joe Thomas plucked one out of the air in the 2nd quarter, deflected by a blitzing Kavon Frazier. Cornerback Duke Thomas had the other in the 4th quarter after Richard Ash got a hand on it.
- Defensive End Charles Tapper also got in on the turnover game, recovering a 3rd quarter fumble by 49ers RB Raheem Mostert.