The San Francisco 49ers overcome the Dallas Cowboys in a defensive struggle.California's Santa Clara : The Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers have two excellent defences, so it's hardly surprising that Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game was a low-scoring affair. Final result: The Niners put together just enough of a fourth-quarter comeback to win 19-12 and advance in the playoffs. The NFC Championship Game between the 49ers and Eagles will take place in Philadelphia on Sunday (3 p.m. ET, Fox).
49ers of San Francisco
The 49ers' defence was aware of all the rumblings following a couple subpar performances during the previous month.The same team that had led the NFL in most important defensive metrics throughout the season was beginning to show symptoms of tiredness.Better playoff opponents were waiting in the wings, according to the sceptics.However, that 49ers defence gave an emphatic reminder of precisely what it stands for on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, shutting down Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott and company on the road to the Niners' third conference championship game in four seasons.The 49ers finished with a plus-1 turnover differential thanks to interceptions from linebacker Fred Warner and cornerback Deommodore Lenoir. When San Francisco wins or ties the turnover fight, the team is now 15-0 for the year. Dallas managed just 282 yards of offence in total, averaging 4.7 yards per play, and converted just 5-of-15 third downs.For the first time since 1984, the Niners, who have already won 12 straight games, will now take on the Eagles.For the first time since 1984, the Niners, who have now won 12 straight games, advanced to play the Eagles with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
Brock Purdy's life was challenging all day as a result of the Dallas defence, which was undoubtedly the most difficult test he has seen since taking over as the starter in Week 14. The Niners faltered when Purdy was under pressure. He was reliable when he had a chance to throw.However, Purdy's greatest figure for the day was 0. as in how many mistakes he made. Purdy completed 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, which was the difference in the game. Although it wasn't attractive, it sufficed.Never before this year's rookie quarterbacks have thrown for 200 yards in a postseason game with no picks. Purdy has accomplished this in two consecutive postseason games.
The Niners' offence needed a spark, any spark, to get going after spending the majority of the day stuck in the muck. When Purdy rolled to his left with 5 minutes, 19 seconds remaining in the third quarter, he noticed tight end George Kittle racing down the centre of the field.Despite being accurate, Kittle was taken a touch too far by Purdy's toss.Kittle improvised by extending his right hand, juggling it twice, and then bringing it in for a gain of 29 yards. Soon, the Niners' offence started to gain momentum.improvised by extending his right hand, juggling it twice, and then bringing it in for a gain of 29 yards. Soon after, the Niners' offence gained momentum on the ground and eight plays later, Christian McCaffrey scored the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard run.
Two words that sum up the game:
Heavyweight combat Throughout the whole season, these two teams were among the top three in the NFC, and despite the fact that both of their offences were rather potent, both teams' defences were the most reliable components. That was evident on Sunday when they sparred in the middle of the ring for the whole 60 minutes until the Niners prevailed.
McCaffrey's score in the fourth quarter was his eighth in a row.Since Terrell Owens scored a touchdown in nine straight games in 1998, McCaffrey has scored a touchdown in his eighth straight game, which is the longest stretch of his career and the longest for the 49ers.
The Cowboys' season comes to an end in the divisional round of the playoffs, which seems to be where it usually does.The greatest losing run in the second round of the NFL playoffs occurred when the Cowboys fell to the 49ers, who they had defeated seven straight times in the divisional round. The Cowboys have suffered defeats to the Carolina Panthers (1996), New York Giants (2007), Minnesota Vikings (2009), Green Bay Packers (2014, 2016), Los Angeles Rams (2018), and now the Niners since winning Super Bowl XXX in the 1995 campaign.
Why did San Francisco suffer losses?
Running back Tony Pollard departed the game with a fractured left fibula, Prescott was intercepted twice in the first half (resulting in two Niners field goals), Brett Maher missed another extra point, making it five missed extra points in two playoff games, and the defence wore down in the second half. As a result, the Cowboys' Super Bowl drought has now lasted 27 years and counting, and they face a challenging offseason that will involve making important decisions regarding free agents, limiting their options under the salary cap, and possibly losing two coordinators to head coaching positions elsewhere.
Prescott didn't have to play flawlessly to defeat the Niners, but he did need to avoid errors. He refused. Since Troy Aikman in the 1998 wild-card round, he became the first Cowboys quarterback with two interceptions in a playoff game. When their quarterback throws multiple interceptions in a game, the Cowboys are currently 6-13 in the playoffs. Prior to Sunday, Prescott had only connected with wide receiver CeeDee Lamb once in five targets during their playoff matchup against San Francisco. The location of Prescott's second pick, at the San Francisco 18-yard line, made it fatal. It was only Prescott's second red zone pick of the year. The other occurred during the Week 10 overtime defeat.
The biggest flaw in the strategy:
The loss of Pollard in the second quarter was more of an issue than a flaw in the strategy itself. The Cowboys' running strategy failed without Pollard. Without his agility and quickness, the Cowboys would have had little chance against the Niners' run defence, which during the season prevented any one runner from going further than 70 yards. Ezekiel Elliott gained 26 yards on the ground against the 49ers despite not averaging more than 4 yards per carry since Week 14.
Cowboys' defence for anything, but in the second half, it gave up a 91-yard touchdown drive with the score tied 9-9 and a 64-yard field goal drive after the Cowboys reduced the deficit to 16-12. The Cowboys did not allow more than 46 yards on any of the game's opening six possessions while only allowing three field goals. It was difficult for the defence to get to Purdy in the second half, and Trevon Diggs lost a possible interception on the 91-yard drive. The defence previously thrived on quarterback pressures and giveaways.
Underrated statistic to know:
Maher is the first person in NFL history to try more than two failed extra point tries in a single playoffs, according to data from the Elias Sports Bureau; he missed five extra point attempts in the previous two playoff games, including one on Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers Grind Past Cowboys In Defensive Struggle
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