It wasn’t the offensive onslaught the San Francisco 49ers displayed last week at Levi’s Stadium, but they still got the job done, defeating the Dallas Cowboys, 19-12, to advance to the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row.
Thanks to two scoring drives that lasted a combined 14 minutes, Brock Purdy and the offense was able to kill clock get enough points on the board to force Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to score a touchdown if they wished to at least force overtime.
Prescott, though, was forced into a three-and-out, as the league’s best defense during the regular season once again proved why they’re so dangerous.
He would get another chance with no timeouts left after the 49ers burned more clock, but it was all for naught as San Francisco celebrated their victory.
Purdy has done well to keep this win streak alive for the 49ers, which now moves to 12 straight games. But he will have to continue moving the offense in his first road playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.
Purdy finished the game with 214 yards on 19-of-29 through the air, while being sacked twice.
Prescott was hoping his five touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week would give him some momentum against the Niners, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, turning it over twice in the first half.
Prescott finished 23-of-37 for 206 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions while rushing for 22 yards on four carries.
It took the 49ers until the fourth quarter to finally get their first touchdown of the night, as Christian McCaffrey capped a 10-play drive with a two-yard run to take a 16-9 lead over the Cowboys.
49ers placekicker Robbie Gould was the only one putting points on the board, including a 50-yarder to end the first half with a 9-6 lead, prior to that long San Fran drive.
Dallas scored the first touchdown of the game thanks to tight end Dalton Schultz catching a short Prescott pass and waltzing into the end zone in the second quarter. However, beleaguered kicker Brett Maher had his extra point attempt blocked, which comes one week after missing four of his five attempts in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers.
Maher’s kick looked like it would’ve missed if it wasn’t blocked at the line to begin with. But Maher would get back on a positive swing thanks to a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter.
Head coach Mike McCarthy would give him a 43-yard try later in the fourth quarter to cut the 49ers’ lead to four, and he hit it, much to the delight of all those on the Cowboys’ sideline as well as fans watching.
As has been the case since Purdy became the starter, 49ers tight end George Kittle has helped create space in the middle of the field for easy throws. He also has a flair for the dramatic, as Purdy fired a bullet up the seam that Kittle stopped with one hand, juggled a bit, and eventually came down with the reception to help set up McCaffrey’s touchdown.
Kittle was the team’s leading receiver with five catches for 95 yards, while Deebo Samuel had four receptions for 45 yards.
And though McCaffrey had the touchdown run, Elijah Mitchell was the leading rusher with 51 yards on 14 carries, as Dallas focused on stopping them in that area of the offense.
For Dallas, CeeDee Lamb led the way with 10 catches and 117 yards. Schultz was the closest to him with only 27 yards on five receptions.
The Cowboys also lost Tony Pollard, a catalyst in both the run game and pass game, early in this one due to an ankle injury. As a result, Dallas had just 76 rushing yards as a team.
Once again, Dallas’ solid regular season comes to a close without reaching the NFC Championship Game, while the 49ers will look to take down Jalen Hurts and the Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl in Arizona.