ARLINGTON, Texas If the third exhibition game is the one that most closely approximates the regular season, the 49ers have a lot of work to do before their Sept.13 opening.
The 49ers first-team offense managed just three points with starting quarterback Shaun Hill at the controls for the first five possessions. When the starting unit exited after one series in the second half, the 49ers got things into gear.
Rookie quarterback Nate Davis solidified a spot on the 49ers 53-man roster with an impressive showing to lead the 49ers to a 20-13 exhibition victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night.
With less than four minutes remaining, coach Mike Singletary opted to tie the game with an Alex Romero field goal, rather than go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 6-yard line. It was a unique decision the kind not often seen in a game that has no bearing in the standings.
It has no meaning for you, said Singletary, whose team improved to 3-0 in the exhibition season. Every game we play has meaning to me. I would never enter a game thinking that it doesnt matter.
And the final couple of minutes certainly had meaning for Davis and undrafted rookie running back Kory Sheets.
Davis led the 49ers on a 91-yard scoring sprint that lasted a mere 79 seconds. Sheets provided the winning margin on a 9-yard touchdown on a power run up the middle with :33 remaining.
Its starting to click, Davis said. Im starting to pick up that confidence.
Davis, a fifth-round draft pick from Ball State, completed 10 of 15 passes for 132 yards. It seems unfathomable at this point that Davis will not have a spot on the 49ers 53-man roster when the 49ers open the season. He is likely battling veteran Damon Huard for the No. 3 job.
I think Nate did a fine job, Singletary said. I dont know whos on the other side of the ball (for the Cowboys), but they are professionals.
Sheets led the 49ers with 42 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Known for his lightning speed, the 208-pound Sheets also showed surprising power to get into the end zone in the final minute for the winning points.