SANTA CLARA – The 49ers' first exhibition game was played by quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo was on target – in fact far from the finish – on half of his six attempts to pass. But Garoppolo was anything but discouraged after his nine snapshots had produced a couple of first downs below the middle, but ended with a punt.
"Of course, there are always things we can improve," Garoppolo said after the 49ers' 24-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium on Thursday night.
"It's good to see different looks from a different defense than our own, because we see the games playing against them, unlike what we normally see, so there's always something to learn."
Garoppolo completed three of his six pass attempts for 34 yards, including an 18-yarder Marquise Goodwin on a one-third-and-ten game. He also failed on two other throws intended for Goodwin, and crashed George Kittle on a deep seam line.
"These are just different things we're not used to," said Garoppolo. "Try some new stuff, but the preseason is there to see what works and what does not work and goes from there."
Mullen's magical time
Quarterback Nick Mullens remained in the 49ers practice group last season after arriving as an un-grafted rookie from southern Mississippi. He never got the call from the 53-man troupe.
On Thursday he had his best moment with the club and led the 49er towards the end of the fourth quarter of a 21-10 residue to victory. Mullens found Richie James with a 7-yard touchdown tie with: 18 left for the victory points while the 49ers sideline erupted in the celebration.
"That was great," said Garoppolo. "It was an exciting way to finish it."
Mullens is firmly stationed behind Garoppolo and C. J. Beethard on the 49ers' depth map. But he and his comrades used their opportunities to show their belongings.
"It was a great moment and a great moment for our team," said Mullens. "Three of us work together every day in practice, it was cool just to see how we could take our chances, it was a lot of fun, everyone was locked up and we were strong."
Offensive No. 3 ran its two-minute practice perfectly. The 49ers drove 77 yards in six games and took control with exactly 2:00 and scored the victory points with: 18 left.
Mullens went on passes to Jeremy McNichols (9 yards), Steven Dunbar (14 yards), tight end Ross Dwelley (26 yards), receiver Kendrick Bourne (back-to-back passes of 4 and 9 yards), and James for the Go-ahead touchdown. Then Mullen's newly signed tight end found Wes Saxton on the two-point conversion.
"You know it's happening to you and of course I want to survive," Mullens said. "The receivers have done a great job, guys we work with every day, the boys up front, we were just very moody, very jailed, going through every single day of the camp, and it was cool to see it on the field came. "
Mullens completed 11 of 13 passes for 141 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Lead with the helmet
Linebacker Elijah Lee was penalized in the third quarter because he lowered his helmet to contact cowboys who were running Bo Scarbrough after an 11-yard pass finish. The helmet rule prohibiting a player from lowering his head to contact the helmet was passed during the offseason. Referee Ron Torbert spent four days with the 49ers last week, saying that during the padded exercises, he did not see an instance that would justify a punishment. Torbert's team had played the game on Thursday. Lee took over when starter Malcolm Smith injured with an Achilles tendon. Lee led the 49ers with seven tackles
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Rookie defensive lineman Jullian Taylor, a seventh grader from Temple, started replacing Arik Armstead. And he was still in the game in the fourth quarter to record an important quarterback sack, an important defensive game in comeback victory. But things did not go as planned when Taylor was earlier exploited when the Cowboys ran 15 yards straight at him on the first ride of the game. "It was probably just that I got the trouble out, honestly," Taylor said. "This was my first game and I started it looked like 'Whoa'." As soon as I calmed down and really had my feet under me, it became easier. It only played football at the end of the day. "Right tackle Mike McGlinchey, the 49ers' first campaign, played the entire first quarter and into the second quarter, staying with most of the other starters already gone," We intended to let him longer, "Coach said Kyle Shanahan "Most of the time, if I do not particularly notice an O-lineman in the game at pass matches, that usually means they were pretty good." Defensive linemen Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner combined for a quarterback sack in the first quarter There were no 49ers players fighting ethnic inequality while playing the national anthem, Goodwin raised his right fist.