The San Francisco 49ers defeated the archrival Dallas Cowboys 19-12 on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.
So the Niners advanced to the National Finals for the second consecutive season, having taken down the pennant against the Los Angeles Rams last year. It was also the ninth meeting between the 49ers and Cowboys in a one-night stand. The Californian club has won the last three duels.
Not all matches are won by fireworks. The 49ers rolled out a good old recipe that has served them well with stifling defense to beat the Cowboys 19-12 and thus advance to the National Conference Finals for the third time in the last four seasons.
Nothing spectacular happened, nothing spectacular happened, but no team in the league can bet against the wall like the 49ers.
Before the draft, there was none other than young rookie Brock Purdy on the NFL planet.
The seventh-round pick got the job done, completing 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards. He threw no touchdown passes and no turnovers. A good little action game without mistakes.
He becomes the fifth quarterback to reach the conference finals, following Sean King (1999), Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009).
Purdy was especially aided by George Kittle’s spectacular catch in the middle of the field on the only sequence that led to a touchdown for the 49ers. Tied at 9-9 early in the fourth quarter, the game eventually went 91 yards and sparked a drive that ended in a touchdown on a two-yard run from running back Christian McCaffrey. Kicker Robbie Gould also contributed with four field goals.
Hats off to Purdy, but it would be grossly disingenuous to claim he was the story of the game. From that famous sequence, the formidable offensive line of the 49ers literally took control of the game.
Offenses opened up for Christian McCaffrey and the offense won 13 first downs in two series. The 49ers had only eight first downs before.
Above all, it was the 49ers defense that shined. There is no better group of quarterbacks in the NFL. The defensive line was also troubled by quarterback Dak Prescott, who was the victim of two interceptions. Those turnovers led to six of the 49ers’ nine points in the first half.
The Cowboys’ rushing game, which lost Tony Pollard to an ankle injury, was limited to 3.5 yards per carry.
Wind in the sails
Aside from a touchdown on a 74-yard pass from Prescott to Dalton Schultz, the Cowboys never gained more than 47 yards on their other drives. A pittance for the fourth-highest scoring offense this season.
Therefore, the 49ers will travel to Philadelphia, where the Eagles await them in the national conference finals. It will be a matchup between the 49ers, statistically the best defense in the league, and the trailing Eagles. Quite a shock in perspective!
The Niners have won their last 12 games, their longest streak since 1984.
For their part, the Cowboys have missed the conference finals in their last 12 playoff games. Despite two straight seasons of 12 wins and five losses, many will look to head coach Mike McCarthy for leadership.
With former Saints running back Sean Payton available, the connection to the Cowboys and his good friend and owner Jerry Jones will quickly become a hot topic.
Tony Pollard broke his leg
Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard broke his left leg during a game.
The 25-year-old football player had to leave the confrontation in the first half. According to ESPN, he will have to go under the knife.
Pollard may have played his last game in a Cowboys uniform, as he could become a free agent in the coming weeks.
The fourth-round pick (128th overall) in the 2019 draft is coming off the best season of his NFL career. He had 1,007 yards and nine rushing touchdowns. Pollard also caught 39 passes for 371 yards and three majors.
STARS OF THE DAY
Not only is the tight end outstanding with five receptions for 95 yards, but he’s also solid in blocking and burst. What a refreshing personality!
The 49ers linebackers are clearly from another planet, and Warner is the soul of the group. He was fantastic with nine tackles and one interception.
Cee Dee Lamb
In the loss, he led the Cowboys with 10 catches for 117 yards. He caught several passes from difficult angles despite a finger injury.