The San Francisco 49ers found themselves trailing 14-10 after the first half of their preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. But long after the starters were out, wide receivers Dante Pettis and Richie James made some headway.


The San Francisco 49ers' first-team offense didn't gain a lot of headway when the Niners hosted the visiting Dallas Cowboys Thursday night for both teams' preseason debuts for 2018.

And while the majority of the action early on focused on a swarm of injuries the 49ers were dealing with right off the bat, it was good to see a couple of rookie wide receivers, Dante Pettis and Richie James, make some nice contributions during their extended preseason looks.

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Pettis, San Francisco's second-round pick from this year's NFL Draft, has been a major training camp standout. And his first preseason catch at the pro level was a memorable one -- a 53-yard snag that helped set up the 49ers' second score of the game shortly before halftime:


The rookie receiver also showed why he's a first-year player, though. He dropped a would-be catch earlier in the first half and also had a miscommunication on a boundary route with quarterback C.J. Beathard. Those are things he'll have to work on between now and the regular season.

James, on the other hand, managed to get a few more looks from Niners quarterbacks throughout the game. A seventh-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State, the 5-foot-9 and 185-pound receiver managed three receptions for 39 yards by the end of the third quarter.

San Francisco's wide receiver depth chart is pretty stockpiled, meaning James will have to have more moments like these to cement his future role on the 2018 roster:


But on a night where the Niners offense struggled to get much going, at least the notable contributions from two rookie wideouts should inspire confidence moving forward.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.