The 2021 Dallas Cowboys season came to a disappointing end as the team lost 23-17 in the wild card round of the playoffs.
This weekend, the Cowboys travel to California to take on the San Francisco 49ers. Dallas will look to even the score after being eliminated from last year’s playoffs by San Francisco.
“Definitely me [wanted the rematch]Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said via the team’s website. “I think the whole team did it. Obviously, using that loss last year as motivation and simply as the focal point of the resiliency that we carry into the offseason, [that we] brought to this year”.
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Last postseason, the 49ers jumped out to an early 10-0 lead from which the Cowboys were unable to recover despite a fourth-quarter rally.
Prescott added that he welcomes the challenge of playing at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday instead of the friendly confines of AT&T Stadium. “Yeah, we have an opportunity to go back and do something that we want to do instead,” Prescott said.
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On Friday, Dallas head coach Mike McCarthy described last year’s playoff loss as a “sacred wound.”
Cowboys star linebacker Micah Parsons said some of the problems that arose during the game were self-inflicted.
“I really think last year we beat ourselves up on penalties, offsides, things like that,” Parsons said. “If you just play your game, the biggest mistake is that you have to go out and be different, that you have to go out and try to physically outplay a team, that you want to play their game.
“Why play their game? Play your game. Let’s play Dallas football. That’s all we have to do.”
The Cowboys had a second straight 12-win regular season, but the franchise hasn’t had much postseason success in the past two decades.
The Cowboys have made the playoffs in three of the past five seasons, but haven’t advanced to the NFC Championship Game since the 1995 season, the last time the franchise captured a Super Bowl title.
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The Cowboys enter Sunday’s contest in Santa Clara as underdogs against the No. 2 seed 49ers.
But McCarthy said he has unshakable confidence even though his team is an underdog.
“We feel very comfortable in this position,” McCarthy said of being underdogs. “Clearly we are going there expecting to win. Don’t doubt that.”
The Niners are riding an 11-game winning streak with strong defense and the veteran play of rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.
Purdy was selected with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft and intervened after veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a foot injury.
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Parsons said he likes being an underdog.
“When you’re already at the bottom, you can only go up. I really like being the underdog,” he said.