It wasn’t quite the offensive attack 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 straight year.
Thanks to two scoring drives that lasted a combined 14 minutes, Brock Purdy and the offense were able to kill the clock and get enough points on the board to force Dak Prescott and the Cowboys to score a touchdown if they wanted to at least force overtime.
Prescott, however, was forced into a three-and-out as the best defense in the league during the regular season proved once again why they are so dangerous.
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He would get another chance with no timeouts after the 49ers burned more of the clock, but it was all for naught as San Francisco celebrated their victory.
Purdy has done well to keep this winning streak alive for the 49ers, which now moves to 12 straight games. But he’ll have to keep moving the offense in his first playoff road game against the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday.
Purdy finished the game with 214 yards on 19 of 29 passing, while being sacked twice.
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Prescott hoped his five touchdowns against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week would give him momentum against the Niners, but that wasn’t the case. Instead, he threw more interceptions than touchdowns, giving it up twice in the first half.
Prescott finished 23 of 37 passing for 206 yards with a 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, when Christian McCaffrey capped a 10-play drive with a 2-yard run to take a 16-9 lead over the Cowboys.
49ers placekicker Robbie Gould was the only one to put points on the board, including a 50-yard pass to end the first half with a 9-6 lead, before that long San Francisco drive.
Dallas scored the first touchdown of the game thanks to tight end Dalton Schultz catching a short pass from Prescott and into the end zone in the second quarter. However, beleaguered kicker Brett Maher had his extra point attempt blocked, which comes a week after missing four of his five attempts in Tampa Bay against the Buccaneers.
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It looked like Maher’s kick would have missed if it hadn’t been blocked on the line to begin with. But Maher would go on a winning streak again thanks to a 25-yard field goal in the third quarter.
He would be given a 43-yard attempt by head coach Mike McCarthy later in the fourth quarter to cut the 49ers’ lead to four, and he connected, much to the delight of everyone on the Cowboys’ and Los Angeles bench. watching fans.
As has been the case since Purdy became the starter, 49ers tight end George Kittle has helped create space in midfield for easy shots. He has a flair for the dramatic, too, as Purdy fired a round over the seam that Kittle stopped with one hand, juggled around a bit and finally came down with the catch to help set up McCaffrey’s touchdown.
Kittle led the team in receiving with five receptions for 95 yards, while Deebo Samuel had four receptions for 45 yards.
And while 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 offense.
For Dallas, CeeDee Lamb led the way with 10 catches and 117 yards. Schultz was the closest to him with just 27 yards on five receptions.
The Cowboys also lost Tony Pollard, a catalyst in both the running game and the passing game, early in this one to an ankle injury. As a result, Dallas had just 76 rushing yards as a team.
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Once again, Dallas’ strong regular season comes to an end without reaching the NFC Championship Game, as the 49ers look to defeat Jalen Hurts and the Eagles to advance to the Super Bowl in Arizona.