49ers – Cowboys live blog

This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers (10-7) Wild Card playoff matchup with the Dallas Cowboys (12-5) from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

12:08 Inactive for the 49ers will be: OL Jaylon Moore, S Talanoa Hufanga, RB Trey Sermon, DB Deommodore Lenoir, LB Marcell Harris, DL Maurice Hurst, CB Darqueze Dennard

12:14 Azeez Al-Shaair is active for the 49ers. This will be the first time in a while San Francisco has had its top three linebackers, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, and Al-Shaair active on gameday.

12:44 Something to consider as we wait for this game to get started, the 49ers ran 21 personnel (2 running backs, 1 tight end) a league leading 373 times. Also, the 49ers can be in 11 personnel (1 running back, 1 tight end) and still run all of their 21 personnel plays due to the versatility of Deebo Samuel. The Dallas defense has seen this grouping just 53 times all season. 

On the other side of the ball, Dallas ran 11 personnel 707 times, and the 49ers defense faced this grouping 663 times.

This familiarity could be an advantage for the 49ers.

1:20 The first three games have seen the road team struggle to open the game as they have been outscored 38-3 in the first quarter on the way to loses.

1:40 49ers on offense to start the game. Here we go.

1:47 Cannot start a game any better than that. The 49ers go 75-yards on only 7 plays, with Elijah Mitchell scoring on a sweep around the right side to give the 49ers a quick 7-0 lead.

San Francisco ran three plays out of 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends) and picked up gains of 17, 11, 13.

Jimmy Garoppolo hit on all three pass attempts for 43 yards and Deebo Samuel picked up 19 yards on two touches, one run and one reception. 

1:53 The 49ers defense comes out firing too. After Dak Prescott throws incomplete on first down, Dre Greenlaw drops Ezekiel Elliott for a loss of 3 before Nick Bosa sacks Prescott on third down. 

On that third down play Dallas was set to chip Bosa, but the 49ers had a stunt called which sent Bosa around and up the middle. The Cowboys didn’t touch him, and he was able to drop the quarterback for a loss of 10.

2:04 San Francisco offense was moving the ball well again until they started shooting themselves in the foot. Under pressure Jimmy Garoppolo missed a George Kittle open deep down the right side, instead throwing to Elijah Mitchell for a loss of 11. 

The 49ers were then flagged for delay of game before Garoppolo threw complete to Kyle Juszczyk for a gain of 10. Robbie Gould puts the 49ers ahead 10-0 with a 53-yard field goal. 

2:10 Dallas picks up a first down, but this San Francisco pass rush is getting after it. Arden Key forces a hold to negate a long completion on second down and the 49ers defense holds. 

2:18 The start went about as good as possible for San Francisco. Leading 10-0, the 49ers will face 3rd and 3 to open the second quarter.

2:27 49ers offense goes 56-yards on 12 plays and Robbie Gould hits from 40 yards out to put them up 13-0. Big play on that drive was a 19-yard completion from Garoppolo to Samuel on 3rd and 2.

Dallas has done a good job of shutting the 49ers down when they go to 21 personnel. 

2:35 Cowboys finally get their offense in sync and drive right down the field, finishing it off with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Amari Cooper. Cooper easily beat K’Waun Williams and Prescott hit him.

Difference on that possession for Dallas was they were able to get the run game moving. The first three plays were all runs and gained 18 yards. This sets up the play action which takes away the 49ers pass rush.

49ers 13 Cowboys 7

2:41 Jimmy Garoppolo hits Brandon Aiyuk for 37-yards on the first play of the possession, but Dallas shuts the 49ers offense down and Robbie Gould comes on for another field goal. Gould hits from 52-yards out to give San Francisco a 16-7 lead.

The 49ers have dominated the game to this point but settling for field goals is allowing Dallas to hang around.

2:55 Nick Bosa injured. His return to the game is questionable.

2:59 The 49ers defense holds with some help from the sun when Cedric Wilson Jr can’t see the pass from Dak Prescott. Nice hold for San Francisco. 49ers 16 Cowboys 7

3:02 49ers offense runs out the clock. San Francisco goes in at halftime with a 16-7 lead.

3:11 49ers offensive output by personnel group:

21: 7 rushes for 20 yards, 4-5, 46 yards passing

11: 5 rushes for 18 yards, 5-7, 59 yards passing

12: 2 rushes for 19 yards, 2-2 28 yards passing

22: 4 rushes for 8 yards, no passes (this was the grouping on Mitchell’s 4-yard touchdown run.

3:15 San Francisco defense needs to keep bringing the pressure on Dak Prescott. Recorded four quarterback hits in the first half.

3:24 49ers defense gets a big sack from Arik Armstead only to have Mark Nzeocha get called for roughing the punter, giving Dallas a fresh set of downs. 

They allow one first down, then force a couple of incompletions from Prescott to get off the field.

San Francisco’s offense will open the second half from its own 6.

3:28 Nick Bosa is out with a concussion.

3:34 49ers pick up a couple of first downs, but Garoppolo is forced to throw the ball away on 3rd and 1. 49ers punt for the first time in this game. 

Dallas will take over at their 23.

3:38 There’s the turnover. K’Waun Williams with the interception of a Prescott pass, and San Francisco will take over at the 26.

3:40 And there’s the lightning. Deebo Samuel runs 26 yards for a touchdown on the first play following the turnover to put San Francisco up 23-7.

3:46 San Francisco’s defense has been stoning Dallas all day. They force a three and out, their first since the opening possession of the game. Still a long way to go, but this effort has been excellent.

3:52 Jimmy Garoppolo had Brandon Aiyuk wide open on a post corner route and overthrows him. Awful throw to kill the possession.

3:56 The third quarter comes to a close with Dallas on the move. Cowboys will have the ball on their own 43 to start the fourth quarter. Still a long way to go. 49ers 23 Cowboys 7

4:05 Dallas keeps their drive alive with a successful fake punt, but the 49ers defense steps up and forces a field goal. Greg Zuerlein hits from 51 yards out to cut the 49ers lead to 13. 49ers 23 Cowboys 10

4:10 Another mistake by Garoppolo. Moving to his left he throws inaccurately to Trent Sherfield and Dallas picks it off. Cowboys driving inside the 49ers red zone.

4:15 Fred Warner is down in pain and looks to be grabbing his right knee.

4:17 Dak Prescott takes off on 3rd and goal for a touchdown. The 49ers lead is now only 6. 49ers 23 Cowboys 17

49ers were in complete control and two bad throws by Jimmy Garoppolo on back-to-back possessions have completely changed the complexion of this game.

4:29 49ers offense is stopped a yard short. Cowboys will get another shot, down six against a 49ers defense without Nick Bosa or Fred Warner.

4:37 With the 49ers season on the line, DeMeco Ryans calls an all-out blitz, and his defense makes it work, forcing Prescott to throw incomplete to Cedric Wilson. What call from Ryans. Holding nothing back.

4:54 Garoppolo snaps the ball too soon and instead of securing the win the 49ers have to punt. Cowboys have one more chance. Unbelievable.

4:58 What a crazy finish. 49ers win 23-17 and will face Green Bay next week.

 

This article has 138 Comments

  1. I’d pick the 49ers to win except for two things.

    – Phantom PI call on a 49ers defensive back. A tradition dating back to 1970… phantom DPI calls when the 49ers play the Cowboys in the playoffs.

    – Special Teams. Both teams are well matched except special teams. DVOA Rankings:
    6th-Cowboys
    26th-49ers

    I like how the 49ers matchup on offense and defense but phantom DPIs and poor special teams play keep me from clearly predicting a Niners victory.

    49ers-Cowboys to me is a tossup. The team that establishes the run early should win.

  2. Go Niners! Damn this has the 90’s feel for me! JG, prove me wrong and kick some Cowboys asses! Cannot lose to Dallas! Too much history at stake here. Let’s Go!

  3. Nothing better than taking the opening kickoff down the field for seven. Ideal start. Now I hope the defense matches that intensity.

  4. Phew… I’ll take the 3 there… the right side is giving up too much pressure… got to clean that up in hurry

    1. I think I heard Shannie talking up Williams this week, he can do everything or something like that. Look for Big T!

  5. Davante Adams was knocked out on the field and came back to catch 2 key passes to beat the 49ers. Absolutely NO doubt Micah Parsons has a concussion but is allowed back in this game. The NFLs concussion protocols are an absolute joke.

  6. Williams just can’t cover one on one. I hope Lenoir can develop into the new slot corner we need.

    Time for the offense to put another TD on the board.

  7. I agree with Phil Simms. Not sure kicking the FG on 4th and 1 was the play you call. You have a chance to kick their heads into the curb, extend the drive and make their defense give up the ghost. Gotta go for the TKO there.

    On a separate note Jimmy has been absolutely on fire these last 2 weeks.

  8. What the hell Jimmy, don’t throw the ball through three linebackers!

    He never changes, that was disgraceful!

  9. Jennings looks super dangerous and a bit like TO out there on those short outs. Maybe Shanny goes back to that late in the game.

  10. All those dumb@ss penalties are killing the Cowpies. It’s like they are absorbing and distilling Texas stupidity.

    1. I think after that personal foul on the kicker, Shanny told the special team “Don’t lose this game!” lol

  11. Tennessee Jimmy sticks his head out again. Jimmy is definitely the limiter on what this team can do.

    That could have finished Dallas off.

  12. I think Romo was right about that missed pass to Aiyuk. Jimmy was expecting Aiyuk to keep running downfield after he juked the defender, but he went flat to the sideline.

      1. Well, Lance probably would have completed that pass because he doesn’t throw with much anticipation and would have waited for Aiyuk to clearly be open.

        1. That’s an interesting take because he threw some anticipation throws just 2 weeks ago. You also have to have trust in your receivers and be in sync to do that type of stuff.

  13. Almost made it through one whole game with our 3 stud linebackers too.

    This game is won save for a Jimmy turnover there and of course that’s what Jimmy giveth.

  14. This game was going too good to be true. Jimmy needs to give us a tight sphincter

    And now Warner goes down, likely for the season. SMH

  15. Even if the Niners hold on and win the injuries are devastating the defense. Three d-linemen down and now Warner. Holding the knee like that just screams ACL.

  16. The overthrow and the Int are exactly why the 49ers drafted Trey. Should be no dispute from anyone when the 49ers get rid of Jimmy on the off-season.

  17. Attention 49ers. Dallas might try an on side or squib kick. Be prepared. It is shameful that I have to tell you that.

  18. Doubt they’re going to be able to run the ball now. Can Jimmy do enough?

    Let’s see if Kyle trusts Jimmy enough to dink and dunk.

  19. Jerrah should fire McCarthy.

    Kyle needs to call another bootleg on a play action.

    Time for that short out to Jennings. Dial it up Shanny.

  20. Is someone keeping track of how many times we’ve ran the ball in the second half? I feel like we’ve gone away from the run.

  21. Shanny keeps getting killed by being to risk-averse. How do you keep punting on the road when you need a play to seal it?

    At some point have the balls to go and win it.

    1. If they score on dinks and dunks that will be ballgame. Shanny will not call timeouts because he doesn’t value having an extra possession.

  22. That was bad defensive scheming. We’re lucky that they didn’t have a shot at the endzone. Also, Jimmy needed to make sure Trent was set and if he had we fans wouldn’t have aged another 5 years.

    1. LOL… right?
      Someone needs to show JG how Alex manages game. And if he does that next week, we have a very good chance of winning if Bosa and Warner can play.

  23. Holy crap, WAY too much officiating in the finish of this game. But somehow the Niners survived?

    Do better next week Jimmy!

  24. What happened to our team from the 1st half to the 2nd? We looked terrible in the 2nd half. We can’t expect to win game playing timid in the 2nd half.

      1. Many of us, including me, like to blame Jimmy but KS’s 2nd half play calling is extremely questionable. Especially when we’re winning

    1. This team does not like to put teams away for some reason. All they need with 7 left was a fg. A damn fg and blew it. This team just might be like the 2010 Giants. Torture till the end.

  25. For a minute there I was back at the stick and it was 1972. But NOOOOOO. it almost makes up for that day oh so long ago.

  26. Did anyone notice the clock keeper added 2 seconds to the clock after the 49er QB sneak where they got called for Williams not being set. It was 4th and 1 with 38 seconds left. The 49ers were called for a penalty the next play it was 4th and 6 with 40 seconds on the clock’ If Prescott had gotten that spike down a little quicker we could have lost on a clock screw up. No one mentioned it on the broadcast or seemingly on the sideline either.

  27. Crazy to think a bad Jimmy throw saved Kittles and the teams a**.
    That thumb had to be sore after half. He wasn’t throwing those horrible throws the first half.
    Without Bosa and Warner next week. It might get ugly: hopefully they’ll be back

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