SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Long black hair swinging from his helmet, 303-pound defensive lineman Mike Purcell intercepted Dustin Vaughan's pass and returned it 37 yards for a touchdown to help the San Francisco 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys 23-6 on Sunday night.
Purcell, a practice-squad player in 2013 and for all but the final two games last season, provided the highlight again after his six-tackle day in an Aug. 15 preseason opener loss at Houston.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo's day was done after one three-and-out series then the Cowboys turned to Brandon Weeden, who left with a possible head injury.
The Cowboys were expected to be cautious with Romo and Co. at Levi's Stadium, where the troublesome grass held up after causing concern for coach Jason Garrett and owner Jerry Jones.
Craig Dahl also added an interception for San Francisco against third-stringer Vaughan. Quinton Patton blocked a fourth-quarter punt by Tom Hornsey and scooped it up in the end zone for a 49ers touchdown.
Dallas avoided a shutout when fourth-string QB Jameill Showers threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Nick Harwell in the waning moments.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL