The 49ers have dealt with adversity from the start of the season. The countless injuries, players going on the COVID-19 restricted list and most recently turnovers. San Francisco’s 41-33 loss to the Dallas Cowboys all but ended any chances of being in the playoff hunt. After making it to the Super Bowl last year, the 49ers look nothing like that team of 2019.
“I really wanted the guys to come out and play good football,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “And I think offensively, defensively and special teams, guys did a lot of good things. But when you have four turnovers, it doesn’t matter what you do.”
San Francisco gave up 17 points last week against the Washington Football team. Today they picked up where they left off. Four costly turnovers that resulted in 24 points. Nick Mullens threw his seventh consecutive interception, the longest current streak in the NFL. He just hasn’t been the best option to run this offense.
Mullens turnover issues got worse today, he threw a pair of costly interceptions and fumbled the ball. Late in the fourth, Mullens was pulled due to an injury rather than poor play. C.J. Beathard finished the game. Shanahan explained Mullens was pulled due to losing feeling in his arm, not due to his early turnovers.
“I didn’t know… he ran out the huddle, the trainers told me he lost sensation in his elbow,” said Shanahan. “I stuck with Nick after his pick in the fourth quarter, I thought he was playing well, we were in a tie game and I wasn’t going to take a guy out in the fourth quarter in a tie game right after he throws an interception.”
Trouble began early for the 49ers. K Hunter Niswander punted 52 yards, Richie James recovered then fumbled the ball. Darian Thompson recovered and that setup Tony Pollard’s 1-yard touchdown. On the next play, Mullens was sacked by Demarcus Lawerence, Aldon Smith recovered to setup Andy Dalton’s 3-yard touchdown to make a 14-0 game.
Mullens connected with Jordan Reed for a 5-yard touchdown to cut the lead in half in the first. By the second Mullens found Brandon Aiyuk for a 2-yard touchdown. To start the third Robbie Gould kicked a 41-yard field goal to tie the game 17-17. But a dominant Cowboys offense was hard to stop. Andy Dalton went deep to CeeDee Lamb for a 46 yard pass. That setup Dalton’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Dalton Schultz.
The 49ers responded quickly when Jeff Wilson rushed into the end zone for the 1-yard touchdown to tie the game 24-24 but after that it was all Dallas. Guy Zuerlein kicked a 46- yard field goal to start the fourth. Mullens pass intended for Reed was intercepted by Donovan Wilson that setup Guerlein’s 46-yard field goal and made it a 27-24 game.
With 3:27 left in the game, Mullens threw another interception that was intended for Aiyuk but recovered by Anthony Brown. That setup Pollard’s 40-yard touchdown, his second of the day. The win today put Dallas two games out of first place in the NFC East. And if things couldn’t get worse for the 49ers, Gould kicked an onside kick for 12 yards, Lamb rushed it back for a 47-yard touchdown. The Cowboys recorded their first kick-off return since 2008.
LB Fred Warner expressed his frustrations from today’s game:
Injuries – Raheem Mostert left the game with an ankle injury and did not return.
Jimmie Ward left the game right before the half with a concussion and did not return.
Dion Jordan suffered a knee injury and did not return.
Tavarius Moore suffered knee injury and did not return.
Richie James suffered an ankle injury and did not return.
Photo by 49ers