No team has run the ball more than the 49ers in the last three seasons. But they didn't attempt a single run on their first touchdown drive. Or their second.
Colin Kaepernick hit Anquan Boldin on his first two pass attempts, including one that went for 37 yards. On the next play, Kaepernick was tripped up from behind by a Dallas defender but caught his balance. He then fired a 29-yard pass to Vernon Davis in the end zone that the tight end bobbled momentarily but collected for the first-team offense's first touchdown of the season.
Kaepernick and Davis also hooked up for a three-yard touchdown that made the score 21-3 with 4:25 to go in the first quarter. The 49ers had not attempted a handoff at that point and didn't until early in the second quarter when Frank Gore ripped off a 20-yard run. Kaepernick’s passer rating is 156.6.
The defense also did more than it’s share, beginning with Dan Skuta stripping a ball that Chris Culliver returned for a 35-yard touchdown on Dallas' opening possession. Safety Eric Reid also intercepted Tony Romo in the first quarter, returning it 48 yards to the Cowboys 3-yard line.
Then Patrick Willis snuffed out a Cowboys touchdown opportunity by intercepting a toss from Romo to tight end Jason Witten. Finally, Perrish Cox got in on the action when he came down with a deep Romo pass intended for Dez Bryant with 3:39 to go in the second quarter.
The 49ers then went on a more typical drive, one that went nine plays and covered 54 yards. Rookie Carlos Hyde had a 13-yard run up the middle to the Dallas 4-yard line. He then capped the drive with his first NFL touchdown.
If there was a dark lining to the first half for the 49ers, it was that they lost both of their starting cornerbacks. Tramaine Brock left early with a toe injury and was replaced by Cox. He is questionable to return. Culliver, meanwhile, suffered a concussion on a running play, sending rookie Dontae Johnson into the game.
The only other cornerback on the team's roster, Chris Cook, is inactive for today's game. Despite San Francisco's seeming vulnerability to the pass, Dallas has been dedicated to the run, attempting 17 carries to 14 pass attempts. Dallas won the time-of-possession battle, 18:03 to 11:57.
* Joe Looney started the game at right guard and played well. Alex Boone and undrafted rookie Dillon Farrell are the reserve linemen.
* It appears Bruce Ellington is handling all of the return duties. However, the Cowboys have yet to punt.
* Brandon Lloyd seemed to get more snaps than Stevie Johnson. However, Johnson caught the only pass of the two, a 21-yard reception on third and long on the 49ers’ final touchdown drive.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers .