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San Francisco 49ers Stomp Dallas Cowboys’ Postseason Hopes With 23-17 NFC Wild Card Win

A higher playoff seed never brings ease to a Dallas fanbase hoping to watch the Cowboys overcome their postseason demons.

On Sunday, the lousy legacy continued. The Cowboys (3) lost to the six-seeded San Francisco 49ers, 23-17, in the Wild Card weekend matchup — completing an upset win that fans on both sides of the matchup likely forecasted.

Dallas struggled to conjure their top-level offense due to a lacking backfield, receiving corps bereft of Michael Gallup and inconsistent performance by quarterback Dak Prescott — an outcome of the merciless 49ers defense.

Dallas’ offensive line, PFF’s top-graded unit, allowed a season-high five sacks on Prescott.

Dak Prescott threw for 254 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 23-of-43 passing. Prescott was intercepted with five minutes left in the third quarter by K’Waun Williams.

Niners starter Jimmy Garoppolo completed 16-of-25 for 172 yards, zero passing touchdowns and one interception. Garoppolo led steady management of San Francisco’s offense throughout but was picked off by Dallas cornerback Anthony Brown late in the game to trip the Niners’ momentum.

Down 23-10 in the fourth and feeling the pressure of Dallas’ postseason dismay, Prescott was willing to keep the Cowboys in contention. Dak rushed for a five-yard touchdown with eight minutes left in the fourth to bring the contest to one possession.

On their final drive, with less than a minute left and down by six, the Cowboys drove the ball roughly 50 yards down the field, reaching deep within Niners territory in the span of three plays by the offense. Prescott’s instincts compelled him to run up the middle with 14 seconds left — letting the clock run out on the Cowboys, hitting zeroes as Prescott frantically organized the scrimmage line.

San Francisco won the game by holding off the rallying Cowboys, despite their All-Pro DE Nick Bosa leaving early with a concussion.

San Francisco’s No. 1 offensive weapon Deebo Samuel tallied 110 total yards of offense — catching three passes for 38 yards and rushing 10 times for 72 additional yards and a touchdown. He played a big part in the Niners’ backfield, accompanied by rookie runner Elijah Mitchell. The rook added 27 carries for 96 yards and one touchdown.

Season-long candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, Cowboys defensive back Trevon Diggs struggled to work against Niners’ Brandon Aiyuk, allowing 66 vital receiving yards by the second-year wideout.

The narrative of Dallas’ postseason woes became the bane of the Cowboys fanbase — getting bounced in the first round to deflate all of the hype built by a 12-5 season.

San Francisco’s defense was the star of the show, but runner-up honors went to Nickelodeon’s Slime Cast, which featured a three-person panel of former Lions wideout Nate Burleson, broadcasting wunderkind Noah Eagle and actress Gabrielle Nevaeh Green. The lively program often outperformed CBS’ Jim Nantz and Tony Romo.

San Francisco pulled off the upset and booked their matchup against the top-seeded Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional Round.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS – JANUARY 16: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers hands the ball off to Elijah Mitchell #25 of the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

Alejandro Avila lives in Southern California and previously covered news for the LA Football Network. Guided by Kevin Harlan on one shoulder, Eli Manning on the other, Alejandro joins the OutKick community with an authentic passion for sports, pop culture, America, and episodes of Jeopardy!

 

Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

7 Comments

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  1. Why the cowboys are going home: Ezekiel Elliot, 12 carries for 31 yards. Dallas, draft another back or get him the ball. I don’t understand paying a guy what they paid him to hand him the ball 12 times. That’s just stupid any way you look at it, and why they lost. SF just focus on the pass and didn’t respect the run at all. You have to be able to run the ball when you need to in the NFL. The Cowboys just don’t, and until they do this will be as far as they ever go in the playoffs.

      • Yeah he has dropped off, but McCarthey has also slashed his touches since taking over. He clearly is not a fan. It’s a different offensive philosophy now than under Garrett. Under McCarthey Zeke’s carries dropped sharply from an average of 303 in 2018-2019 to 241 in 2020-2021. That’s the difference in a 1300 yard RB and a 1000. Pretty huge. And I’m totally fine if he wants to shift emphasis away from Elliot in his philosophy, but if so, let Elliot go for crying out loud and load up on WRs. That’s an expensive 12 carries. I’m sure Jerry won’t let him boot Zeke.

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