Week 3 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 34, San Francisco 49ers 31
What you need to know
This game was far from a defensive masterpiece. Dallas finished the game with 443 total net yards to San Francisco’s 390 yards. The Cowboys took their first lead of the day with 1:54 on the clock, when Drew Bledsoe hit Keyshawn Johnson with a 14 yard touchdown strike. This game was all about the air attack. Drew Bledsoe had his best game since 2002 and his first 300 yard game since 2003 with Buffalo.
Julius Jones finished the afternoon with 85 hard fought yards on 26 carries and two rushing touchdowns. He added 28 yards on four catches.
The Cowboys’ receivers were the story of the game. Jason Witten was the first half star with the majority of his catches coming in the opening stanza. In the second half Keyshawn Johnson and Terry Glenn made the big catches at the big time to lead the team back from a 24 – 12 deficit.
Julian Peterson’s guarantee of a win looked prophetic early as the 49ers took their first possession straight down the field culminating in a 15 yard touchdown pass from Tim Rattay to Arnaz Battle. Rattay looked great in the first half and looked well on his way to another home victory. His arm strength on his 89 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd in the second quarter exposed the Dallas secondary for the third time in three quarters of football. The 49ers scored 14 points off Cowboys’ turnovers.
Kevan Barlow and Frank Gore shared the carries on the day and combined for 107 yards rushing between the two running backs. Rattay added another 21 yards rushing giving the 49ers a nice day on the ground.
Arnaz Battle looked to be Tim Rattay’s first choice and he made a number of important catches on the day finishing with six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Many of his catches were in traffic. Brandon Lloyd had his best day of his career, going over the 100 yard mark receiving for the first time. He had four catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Bledsoe, Pass: 24 - 38 - 363 - 2 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 3 - 5 - 1|
Drew Bledsoe passed Joe Montana for eighth place in all time career passing yards. He also had his best passing day since 2002 finishing 24 for 38 and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions but it was clearly Drew Bledsoe at his best down the stretch. He engineered the game winning eight play drive with 4:14 left hitting five different receivers. He also had a rare rushing touchdown, scrambling for six yards in the second quarter. Bledsoe was sacked twice and his first interception was a telegraphed pass to Patrick Crayton that Tony Parrish broke on and took it to the end zone. His second pick of the day came off a tipped pass that Parrish made an outstanding play, catching the tipped ball while toe tapping to stay inbounds.
|RB Julius Jones, Rush: 26 - 85 - 2, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (5 targets)|
Julius Jones scored two short touchdowns on the day but every yard he gained was hard earned. On the day he had 26 carries for 85 yards. His longest run of the day was 14 yards. He continued to be a target out of the backfield with four catches for 28 yards. Jones is running hard, but finding holes hard to come by early in the season. Julius did have a fumble in the first half on a hard hit from Mike Rumph.
Tyson Thompson spelled Julius Jones but was limited to one carry for three yards.
Anthony Thomas did not play.
Keyshawn Johnson finished the day with five catches for 74 yards. The numbers do not tell the story of the day Keyshawn had. Many of his catches on the day moved the chains. He had the game winning touchdown and set up both Julius Jones’ touchdowns getting stopped at the one twice. Johnson also caught the two point conversion throw from Bledsoe to put the Cowboys up by three.
Patrick Crayton was the third receiver in the three wide out sets. He finished the game with four catches for 39 yards.
Terry Glenn stretches the field for Drew Bledsoe as he continues to be the long play man for the Cowboys. He had five catches for 137 yards including a beautiful 58 yard catch from Bledsoe. He had a huge 44 yard catch in the Cowboys go ahead drive on a second and six play from the Cowboy 41.
Jason Witten had his best day of the young season. While the majority of his catches came in the first half it was nice to see him more involved in the Cowboys’ passing game again. He had six catches for 85 yards and a touchdown.
Jose Cortez was two of three on extra point attempts. His miss came on a botched hold by holder Tony Romo. Larry Allen got in Cortez’s face after the miss and gave him a good whack in the face mask before other Cowboys stepped in. To Cortez’s credit or craziness he stood up to Allen.
The Cowboys’ rush defense was porous much of the game allowing the 49ers to rush at five yard per carry clip. They stiffened up some in the fourth quarter. Dat Nguyen led the team with seven tackles.
The Cowboys’ pass defense has issues, particularly with the long ball. They once again blew coverage and allowed Brandon Lloyd to go for an 89 yard touchdown. This on the heels of last week’s debacle versus the Redskins. Overall they allowed Rattay to have his way in the first half. They tightened up in the second half but Rattay finished the game with 269 yard and three touchdowns. They did have two interceptions including one off a tip to Dat Nguyen to end the 49ers’ final drive.
|QB Tim Rattay, Pass: 21 - 34 - 269 - 3 TD / 2 INT, Rush: 4 - 21 - 0|
Tim Rattay had an outstanding first half, a mediocre third quarter and a horrible fourth quarter. His final numbers were 21 of 34 for 269 with three touchdowns and two costly interceptions. In the first half Tim looked poised and accurate finishing the half nine of 14 for 165 yards and two touchdowns. He did fumble a snap on a second and goal with 25 seconds remaining in the half, but recovered the ball and spiked it on third down leading to a Nedney field goal. Both of Rattay’s interceptions came on tipped passes in the fourth quarter. The first interception was on a first and ten at the Dallas 34.
|RB Kevan Barlow, Rush: 12 - 65 - 0, Rec: 4 - 28 - 0 (6 targets)|
Kevan Barlow looked decisive and stronger on this day than in his previous two outings. He finished the day with 12 carries for 65 yards averaging more than five yards per carry. He also contributed in the passing game four catches for another 28 yards. Barlow had a 27 yard gain called back on an illegal blocking penalty on Arnaz Battle.
|RB Frank Gore, Rush: 7 - 42 - 0, Rec: 1 - 5 - 0 (2 targets)|
Frank Gore continues to make inroads into the 49ers’ running game. On the day he had seven carries for 42 yards for a six yard per carry average. Gore’s hard running appears to be pushing Barlow a little harder. He did have one catch for five yards as well.
Chris Hetherington looks to have taken over the primary fullback duties from Fred Beasley. His lead blocks enabled Barlow and Gore to hit holes hard and the running game to finish with a five yards per carry average. Chris had one catch for seven yards.
|WR Arnaz Battle, Rush: 2 - -4 - 0, Rec: 6 - 68 - 1 (10 targets)|
Arnaz Battle is Tim Rattay’s primary target and possession receiver. His stats for the game six catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Battle did come out of the game on the 49ers’ final drive limping after a 15 yard catch in traffic. He did have two rushes on the game but for a negative four yards.
Johnnie Morton plays in the 49ers’ three wide sets and had a number of big third down catches. He finished with four catches for 19 yards.
Brandon Lloyd had the best game of his career with four catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns. Lloyd burned the Dallas defense in the first half on an 89 yard bomb from Tim Rattay. His second touchdown came on a 13 yard fade from Rattay on an all out Dallas blitz.
Trent Smith had one catch for zero yards. His catch came in the fourth quarter on the 49ers’ final drive.
Joe Nedney was one for one on field goal attempts and four for four on extra points. His field goal came from 20 yards out with 15 seconds left in the first half.
The San Francisco rush defense was stiffer than many expected on the day. They limited the Cowboys to a three yard per carry average. Tony Parrish led the team in tackles with seven.
The 49ers’ pass defense allowed Drew Bledsoe to have his first 300 yard passing game since 2003. Tony Parrish made a great read on a Bledsoe pass in the second quarter intercepting the pass and taking it back for a touchdown. They allowed 363 yards passing to the Cowboys with two interceptions. The 49ers did sack Bledsoe twice.