San Francisco 49ers

49ers get a much-needed day of positivity

These days have been few and far between since the 49ers lost the NFC Championship Game in Seattle. The 2014 season was mired in controversy and uneven play (and coaching), and the offseason that followed was even worse. That’s why one couldn’t blame the 49ers if they took the opportunity to celebrate a little after their 23-6 win over the Cowboys.

It’s just preseason, but they needed this.

The Grass was just fine.

Jerry Jones apologized after the game, profusely.

“To begin with, realize the world championship is going to be played right on this same grass. By the way, let me say this, anything I said about that grass, I’m wrong, I take back. It’s a great playing surface,” Jones said, unprompted. “They’ve done a lot of work. I feel terrible that in any way without coming up here and doing my own grass inspection that I had any criticism of their grass. If we did a few things as good as they do grass, we’d have a lot better show here, too. Hats off to them. This is great management. These people do a great job.”

The 49ers and NFL surely weren’t happy with Jones’ comments, or Jason Garrett’s comments, or the report that Tony Romo might not set foot on the Levi’s Stadium turf for fear of injury. But all cynicism aside, the grass did its job.

Jarryd Hayne is going to make the team.

Teams aren’t preparing for him, but after all of these punt returns and guys who’ve been juked out of their cleats, doesn’t the possibility exist that Hayne might be one of the most elusive returners the NFL has seen in quite some time? We’ll get to find out when the games count, because the 49ers would be insane to cut Hayne now.

Also, Tim Ryan should never say “shrimp on the barbie” again. That was more painful that Quinton Patton (who blocked a punt and recovered it for a touchdown) catching that short pass and losing 12 yards by running toward his own goal-line.

So will Mike Purcell.

There comes a point when a guy makes too many plays to be ignored. His work in Houston made him preseason famous, and the pick-6 made him SportsCenter famous. If the 49ers can’t find a spot for Purcell on their deep defensive line, some other team will.

Hint: the 49ers will keep Purcell.

NaVorro Bowman is back.

This was much more important than the sod or two great performances from players 99% of 49ers fans couldn’t pick out of a lineup a month ago. Bowman played just three plays. He made three tackles, including two tackles for loss. He looked an awful lot like the same guy who anticipated just about everything before it happened during his remarkable 2013 season.

Let’s hold up for a second — Bowman only played three plays against an exhibition opponent that didn’t look all that interested in being there. But he was the one who was assertive, he was the one making contact, and he was the one saluting the crowd afterward — instead of the crowd giving him pity applause as he he either trudged off the field or was carried off.

Levi’s looked good, Hayne and Purcell followed up their great games with even greater moments, and Bowman appears to not be broken. And I didn’t even mention Carlos Hyde, who looks like a tailback other teams should fear. All in all, it was more than enough to ignore the 49ers’ woeful passing numbers (11-for-17, 50 yards, three sacks absorbed), because it was the franchise’s best day in quite some time.

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