Rookie inside linebacker C.J. Mosley notched his first NFL sack and immediately looked into the crowd.
The thousands of fans in M&T Bank Stadium were cheering for the first-round pick, but Mosley wanted to make sure his parents saw.
"I tried to find my parents on the sideline – point them out," Mosley said. "I didn't see them. When they ask me about it, I'm going to say I saw them."
The soft-spoken Mosley might tell his folks a little white lie,but the story of his first NFL game being a success is no tall tale.
Mosley finished with a team-high five tackles, including the sack, and made plays all over the field. He's been getting a lot of buzz from coaches, teammates and media during training camp, and Mosley delivered on the positive reviews in his debut.
"C.J. seemed like he played really well," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "He played a lot."
Alongside Josh Bynes, Mosley started in place of veteran Daryl Smith (groin) and played well into the second half.
He had a bit of trouble on his first drive as 49ers rookie running back Carlos Hyde ran three times for 43 yards and tight end Vance McDonald got free for a 17-yard catch and run. Mosley said letting McDonald escape outside was a mental error on his part.
The 17th-overall pick out of Alabama settled in after that.
It seemed that a tackle at the line of scrimmage got him started. Mosley shot a gap and tackled Hyde for just a 1-yard gain.
On another series, he sniffed out an inside screen and would have popped the running back for little to no gain had the 49er not dropped the pass. On the next play, Mosley blitzed up the middle and forced an incompletion on third down.
On his sack, Mosley came up the middle and simply out-muscled 49ers running back Jewel Hampton before throwing backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert to the turf for a 7-yard loss.
"I just did my job really," Mosley simply said.
Mosley doesn't say much or show much emotion. He was excited for his first game, but said he didn't let the nerves get to him. He was even-keeled, he said, as usual.
At the same time, Mosley wasn't sure of what to expect. He has been strong in practice, but live games are another story.
"Once I got that first hit in on that first drive, then I came out there on the second drive and made a play, and I just kind of got back into the mode of playing football," Mosley said.
"I'm just making my mark. We've been practicing for a long time. I finally got the first preseason game out of the way. I kind of got a chance to feel the speed, and how I needed to get downhill or certain things I need to do to make plays."