Coach Jason Garrett saw all he needed out of quarterback Dak Prescott on just one drive.
Prescott made the most of his brief appearance in the preseason opener for Dallas by throwing a 30-yard touchdown pass to rookie Michael Gallup on his only drive before the San Francisco 49ers rallied with two late touchdowns to beat the Cowboys 24-21 Thursday night.
“I thought it was a good drive by our offense, a good mix of run and pass,” Garrett said. “Dak made some good decisions. He made a really nice run to keep the drive alive. We got the one-on-one opportunity down the sideline. Michael made a really good release, and it was a good throw and catch.”
Nick Mullens threw a 7-yard TD pass to Richie James Jr. with 18 seconds left to cap the comeback. Jeremy McNichols scored on a 1-yard run with 4:24 to go for the 49ers.
San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t fare as well as Prescott in his first action since signing a $137.5 million, five-year contract in the offseason. Garoppolo completed 3 of 6 passes on his one drive.
“We’re trying to do something different things and see what works and what doesn’t,” he said. “We haven’t been in that situation in a year, and you try to get things rolling.”
More disturbing for the 49ers was the fact that six players left with injuries in the first half. Shoulder injuries to tight end George Kittle and running back Matt Breida could sideline them for “some time,” according to coach Kyle Shanahan.
“It’s what scares you about training camp; it’s what scares you about the preseason,” Shanahan said. “You just want the game to end.”
Prescott sat out the first exhibition last season but got one series against the 49ers this year and looked sharp. He completed all three passes and converted a third-and-9 with a 12-yard scramble.
He capped his night with the deep ball to Gallup, who beat Jimmie Ward down the sideline. Ward got the start at cornerback in place of Richard Sherman, who has a hamstring injury.
With the release of three-time Pro Bowl receiver Dez Bryant and the retirement of 15-year tight end Jason Witten, the Cowboys are searching for receiving threats this preseason. Gallup, a third-round pick out of Colorado State, has been impressive in camp.
“That’s a good feeling,” Gallup said. “Especially for me being so young and being a rookie and everything, I needed that boost of confidence.”
Notes: No players on either team kneeled during the national anthem, although 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin, a former Texas Longhorn, raised his right fist throughout the song. The Niners have been at the center of the protests ever since Colin Kaepernick began kneeling two years ago. Eric Reid protested last year. Both players are no longer with the team. Linebacker Eli Harrold also kneeled during the anthem the past two years but stood this time.
Bengals at Cowboys, 6 p.m. Aug. 18