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Niners take advantage of mistake-prone Cowboys

The San Francisco 49ers took advantage of four first-half turnovers by the Dallas Cowboys to cruise to a 28-17 victory in Sunday's season opener. Our takeaways:

  1. The beleaguered Cowboys defense never stood a chance. Less than a minute into the game, 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver returned a DeMarco Murray fumble 35 yards for a touchdown. Ten minutes later, safety Eric Reid brought a Tony Romointerception to the doorstep of the end zone. Done in by an ineffective, mistake-prone offense, Dallas was down 21-3 by the end of the first quarter. The story of the game was points off turnovers.
  1. Dez Bryant missed the majority of the second half with a case of dehydration. Even before Bryant left the game, Romo's accuracy was scattershot against a 49ers defense that lost starting cornerbacks Culliver and Tramaine Brock to injuries in the first half. He didn't get much help from a vaunted receiver corps that had trouble getting open.
  1. Colin Kaepernick's 125.5 passer rating was the fifth-highest single-game average in his career. He had little trouble moving the offense against a talent-starved Cowboys defense. Anquan Boldin was a monster on third downs, and Vernon Davis remains Kaepernick's go-to target in the red zone. Stevie Johnson played as the No. 3 receiver, but the 49ers run fewer three-wide sets than any team.
  1. For all of the concern about missing All-Pro linebackers Aldon Smith and NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers' defense acquitted themselves well against the pass, shutting Romo down until garbage time. Justin Smith had a great game, sacking Romo twice.
  1. It's hard to believe Bishop Sankey and Jeremy Hill went off the board ahead of Carlos Hyde on draft day. An electric blend of power and speed, Hyde is the ideal complement to Frank Gore. It will be interesting to see if the rookie eats into Gore's workload as the season progresses.
  1. DeMarco Murray is one of the most complete running backs in the NFL. He led all NFL starters in yards per carry last season and totaled 143 yards on 25 touches on a day when his team fell behind by a wide margin in the first quarter.

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