SAN FRANCISCO — With a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the San Francisco 49ers were unable to hold off a Dallas Cowboys comeback and in the end, the Cowboys would steal the win with a chip shot field goal in overtime.
For the 49ers, it was a tough game to swallow after they had jumped to an early 14-0 lead in the first half. It was a game that the team believed they should have won.
“I thought they played their hearts out,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game. “I thought they played well enough to win, but we didn’t win. It’s the National Football League, it’s hard. It’s hard to get those wins.”
Quarterback Alex Smith didn’t have a bad game, but he was constantly pressured all day by the Cowboys defense. Smith was sacked six times and couldn’t find any true consistency in the pocket. But even with that, the 49ers were close to coming away with a big victory.
“It would have been 2-0,” Smith said of the team’s record had they won. “But, it would have been a step for us. This was a good team coming in here. I think a step playing a good NFC team outside our division, that that would be the next step for us.”
There was a sense of frustration from tight end Vernon Davis. With Dallas banged up in the secondary, Davis thought that he would be a major factor in the passing game. Instead, he spent most of the day block linebacker DeMarcus Ware.
It was something that Davis, who finished with two catches for 18 yards, didn’t think he’d be blocking that often.
“I thought I’d be running a lot of routes, especially because their secondary was banged up and I thought we could take advantage of them in that aspect,” Davis said. “But, like I said, it’s up to the coaches each week to decide what they want to do. But no, I didn’t think I’d be up against Ware like that.”
It was especially tough on the 49ers secondary as they forfeited 427 passing yards, including 77 yards on the pass to Jesse Holley in overtime that set up the game-winning field goal.
“It’s a hard loss,” safety Donte Whitner said. “We prepared so hard. We circled it on our calendar, on our schedule. We let it slip through our hands and we gave up too many big plays.”
And the big plays cost the 49ers a chance to go 2-0. But at least with Smith, he sees some positives as well as an opportunity to learn and move forward.
“I certainly don’t think it’s a step backwards at all,” Smith said. “There’s certainly no satisfaction in coming close, but I thought we did a lot of good things tonight.”