49ers – Cowboys NFC Divisional Live Blog

This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers NFC Divisional round playoff matchup with the Dallas Cowboys from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. I will provide updates and analysis from the press box throughout the game.

2:05 Here are the keys to a 49ers victory today.

2:11 49ers inactives: Jimmy Garoppolo, Ambry Thomas, Ty Davis-Price, Nick Zakelj, Tyler Kroft, Drake Jackson, Alex Barrett. 

The 49ers have shown what they think of Drake Jackson in recent weeks by not having him active when they expect to face a run heavy opponent. 

Tyler Kroft being inactive is a bit of a surprise. The tight end had been used in 12 personnel (one back, two tight ends) for much of the last 11 weeks. He struggled with run blocking last week, perhaps that’s why Kyle Shanahan chose to make a change.

2:21 Inactive for Dallas: Jabril Cox, Will Grier, Jalen Tolbert, Nashon Wright, Jason Peters, Peyton Hendershot, Quinton Bohanna

Rookie Tyler Smith will start at left tackle in place of Jason Peters. Smith will have his hands full with Nick Bosa. He has been a solid run blocker and below average in pass protection. 

3:37 Throughout the national anthem the Dallas offensive line and the 49ers defensive line were in a stare down across the field. This one is going to be a battle royal. 

3:39 Dallas won the toss and deferred. San Francisco will be on offense to start the game.

3:43 Dallas forces a quick three and out for the 49ers offense. The Cowboys defense dominated the line of scrimmage on that possession. 

3:48 Both teams trade good defensive possessions to open the game. Dallas picks up a first down on a 15 yard completion from Dak Prescott to T.Y. Hilton. Fred Warner drops Pollard for a loss of two on the next play and Talanoa Hufanga with tight coverage on Dalton Schultz to force an incompletion on third down. 

49ers will take over at their 18.

3:55 This Cowboys defense is fast! 

The 49ers pick up a first down on a run by McCaffrey. On the next play Brock Purdy hits George Kittle down the seam off play action for a gain of 31. Kittle beat the coverage of cornerback DaRon Bland. 

Bland came back two plays later to knock away a deep ball intended for Brandon Aiyuk. Purdy was a little late with the throw, a tough one considering he was rolling out to his left. Pressure on third down forced an incompletion and San Francisco comes up empty.

Cowboys take over at the 20.

Mike McGlinchey has struggled with the speed of the Dallas defensive line so far. 

4:00 Deommodore Lenoir makes the first big play. Prescott was late with a throw to Michael Gallup along the right sideline and the cornerback stepped in front for the interception. 

4:04 Purdy rips a throw to Aiyuk on third down for a gain of 17. The rookie is getting comfortable.

Carlos Watkins down on the field for Dallas. 

4:06 The Cowboys defensive line is dominating the line of scrimmage. Purdy has been under pressure consistently. On the few occasions he’s been able to set his feet he has been on the money. 

San Francisco gets stopped at the eight and Robbie Gould hits from 26-yards out to give them a three point lead.

4:13 First quarter comes to a close. Dallas has the ball out to the 44. They’ll open the second quarter with third and two.

The Cowboys defense had four quarterback hits, two sacks and two tackles for loss in the opening quarter. 

4:22 Dallas goes 74 yards on 14 plays and takes a 6-3 lead when Prescott hits Schultz off play action for the touchdown. 

Dallas got their run game going on that possession and the 49ers pass coverage was too soft underneath. Dak Prescott made them pay with a throw for 18 yards on a run-pass option and a run of 11 yards on a zone read. 

Brett Maher missed his fifth extra point of the postseason.

4:32 Cowboys defenders are all over the 49ers offense. They are so fast. 

4:37 Purdy with a couple of passes for big plays to set up a 47-yard game tying field goal from Robbie Gould.

The first went to Jauan Jennings for five yards on third down. DaRon Bland with a late hit to add another 15 yards onto it. 

Facing second and 19, Purdy hit Deebo Samuel over the middle for a gain of 17. He was pressured on third down and missed Samuel on an out to the left side. 

4:41 Dre Greenlaw matches Bland with a bad penalty of his own, hitting Zeke Elliott out of bounds after a nine yard completion. 

The 49ers defense is playing far too soft. 

4:49 Dallas goes for it on fourth down, DeMeco Ryans sends a blitz, and nobody is there to account for Prescott when he takes off up the middle for a gain of nine.

San Francisco has been vulnerable to this type of offense all year and it has been a tough start for the most part. 

4:51 Tony Pollard with a catch for eight yards. He is down. 

4:52 HUGE PLAY! Jimmie Ward gets his hands on a short throw for CeeDee Lamb and Fred Warner is there for the deflection.

49ers offense takes over at their own 28 with 1:15 to play in the second quarter. 

5:01 The 49ers take advantage of the turnover. Purdy hits Samuel over the middle for ten, then makes a terrific throw to Jennings for a gain of 11 to set up a 50-yard field goal attempt for Gould. He drills it and the 49ers go into the half with a 9-6 lead.

5:17 Cowboys running back Tony Pollard is out for the remainder of the game with an ankle injury. 

5:21 Dallas opens the second half picking up a first down. The 49ers defense then holds, but Ray-Ray McCloud fumbles the punt away and the Cowboys recover at the 21. 

5:26 49ers defense does its job, holding Dallas to a field goal. Maher hits this one from 25-yards out to tie the game at 9.

5:29 McCloud tries to make up for the mistake with a 53-yard kickoff return to set he offense up with good field position.

5:31 That was quick. The 49ers offense goes three and out. Dallas sent pressure at Purdy on third down and nobody picked up Donovan Wilson off the left side. All Purdy could do was fire the ball incomplete deep down the left side. 

This game has been two steps forward, three steps back for the 49ers so far. They have 13 rushing attempts for only 22 yards.

5:39 Prescott hits CeeDee Lamb down the right sideline over Deommodore Leoir for a gain of 46. The 49ers defense settles in, and Fred Warner runs stride for stride with Lamb down the middle to force an incompletion on third down. 

San Francisco will take over at their own nine. 

5:52 Kyle Juszczyk with an eight-yard run down to the Cowboys two on the final play of the third quarter.

The 49ers have gotten their run game going on this possession with some help from a 30 yard catch by George Kittle.

5:55 Christian McCaffrey goes into the endzone untouched for the 49ers first touchdown of the game. 

49ers 16 Cowboys 9

6:04 A 44-yard kickoff return by KaVonte Turpin gives Dallas terrific field position. The Cowboys move the ball with a series of short gains to the 49ers 25 before having to settle for a 43-yard field goal from Brett Maher.

49ers 16 Cowboys 12

6:19 San Francisco has run the ball 15 times for 75 yards on their last two possessions. 

Strong running and a couple timely completions by Purdy helps the 49ers take nearly eight minutes off the clock. The possession stops deep in Dallas territory and Robbie Gould hits from 28-yards out to extend the lead back to seven. 

The 49ers kickoff unit comes up with one of its best plays of the game and Dallas has to go 82 yards to tie this game. 

6:25 Great three and out by the 49ers defense. Dre Greenlaw almost came up with a pick-six.

49ers need to hold onto the ball and get a couple first downs here. 

6:31 Elijah Mitchell around the right side for a gain of 15. That should do it. I’m headed down to the locker room. 

49ers win 19-12. They are headed to the NFC Championship Game for the second season in a row.


This article has 87 Comments

  1. Top draft picks from last year’s draft inactive — Drake Jackson & Ty Davis-Price. Lynch/Shanny have had some big hits over the years, the latest being Mr. Irrelevant. But they’ve also had their fair share of big busts. A very mixed draft record overall.

    1. Sure but it’s better than everyone else’s mixed draft record. Also it’s way too early to count out those two rookies.

  2. (shivering) Agree with jack. Dwelley has been invisible and inactive for weeks. He is NOT a good blocker. He can catch the ball and one can only hope he is ready.

  3. Praying for Brock’s health. We have no back up for him. I had hoped Jimmy G would be ready, even if not fully mobile. Maybe against the Eagles?

  4. This game is almost nerve wracking. I pray Everybody has prepared Brock Purdy for that deadly Cowboys defense. Because as great as he’s done, he is still an inexperienced playoff rookie. Our o-line has to really give him time and protection especially against Micah Parsons.

    1. agree. I mean Brock has been a miracle but he has so little playoff experience. Give Kyle credit for losing 2 starters and guiding a 3rd stringer.

  5. Gawddammmit Fox can you find a crew that doesn’t sound like a bunch of kids?

    Burkhardt: “Dallas starts from their 25. Pollard gets around the edge and HAAAAAAAS FOOOOOUR YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARDS!!!!!” That takes us to second and six.”

    Olsen: “I just luuuuv what they’re doing in practices Kevin. This team is always prepared.”

    Uhh okay thanks guys.

    I really miss Buck and Aikman..

  6. Two bad passes in a row. Lucky that deep ball wasn’t picked, needs to lead the receiver, not throw it behind him. Second one was just down and away.

  7. At some point the O-Line might want to figure out this pass blocking thing or this could be a long and ugly game. The pass blocking is a joke right now.

  8. Wow, that was too easy. Too many missed tackles.

    O-line better be ready for some football. Niners are going to need to put up points.

  9. It seems like Dallas has almost every play perfectly defensed.

    Finally something nice to Deebo.

  10. What the hell is KS doing. Acting like a score here isn’t important. Dallas has the ball coming out of half time not the 9ers.

    1. Kyle has been fantastic since Purdy took over but yeah feels like he reverted back to his overly conservative game calling of late. Still, I’m liking our chances right now.

      1. Purdy hasn’t faced a defense this good. The running game has worked in the past games, but so far not in this one. So it’s different that way. Having said that, this team has been a 2nd half team lately, so hopefully that continues.

          1. No doubt. That clip of the Glinch being pushed around like a rag doll is emblematic of how this OL has played.

  11. Kyle ran a QB sneak with Purdy. Against a team like this you need to go directly at them. I’d run two to three people at parsons wearing him down. This is a heavy weight boxing match and body blows are important.

  12. The rumors that this team doesn’t practice the 2 minute drill seem very plausible watching this crap.

  13. Brock has not been taking advantage of the coverage. He has not been as accurate in this game but Dallas has been playing well. We need to come out strong and big in the second half.

  14. It’s funny when they picked up McCloud in the off-season my first second and third thoughts were “Noooooooooooo he’s got fumblitis!!!”

    Then he goes the entire season without losing one.

    Of course he gives it up in the biggest game of the year.

  15. Kinda wondering when Bosa is going to make his mark over these last 2 playoff games.

    1. There was a play where afterwards he was holding his abdomen. Didn’t he have an abdomen injury before – I don’t recall when that was.

  16. I know the game is tied and both defenses are playing well, but Dallas offense seems to be making plays whereas the 9ers not so much. Right now the 9ers offense is not inspiring any confidence.

  17. They need to break through for a TD here. They’ve been gifted some penalties, gotta take advantage.

    Kyle, what you got? :-)

    1. Niners offense now beginning to wear down the Dallas D.

      D now needs to put down the clamps — unless the special teams continues to screw it up.

  18. Can somebody explain the purpose of that timeout. In a close game like this it doesn’t seem like a smart move.

    1. No matter how this season ends. Shanahan still is remedial as a coach in his time management.

      Just have to hope it doesn’t cost them a game.

        1. They could have snapped it with one or 2 seconds to go, so I’m not buying it. Everybody was up at the LOS and there didn’t look like there was any confusion.

  19. Ball security is what we need now to close out this game. And, of course, another 1st down would do the trick.

  20. Just a reminder that I said we needed to run the ball. Specifically at Parsons; not sure we did that. But we ran the ball. I trust of OL to run block, ESPECIALLY when we stick with it and wear down the defense. When. You run the ball consistently for 3-4 yards those are body blows. And Parson blew his load early. Didn’t properly manage his energy. Know we just need to protect the ball.

  21. Mitchell blew that by not going out of bounds. At the same time, shouldn’t there have been somebody reminding him of the situation so that it was fresh in his mind.

    1. Yes there should have been, Cubus. But I see it happen a lot, with all of the things going on, but yah, somebody needs to remind him there. Mitchell is still a young player though, and some of that is on him, so hopefully he learned from that. If I have one complaint, it’s that I would have liked to see more of Mitchell in the first half, but that feels like nitpicking at this point!

      BTW, George Kittle deserves the game ball!

  22. Now that all ye unfaithful’s hearts are beating again, I have a question for you.

    There was a play near our side of the field where Hufanga blitzed and forced Dak to spin out of it and eventually he was brought down short of the line of scrimmage by the defense. It was an obvious broken pass play. Why wasn’t the defense credited with a sack?

  23. It was good that Purdy faced a tough defense. It’s not gonna be a picnic against the Eagles so at least he got some experience.

    1. You could tell he wasn’t prepared for the speed of their defense and the game in the first half. However, he avoided making dumb mistakes. That’s what I took away from it. He should be better prepared next week.

      1. Nobody was prepared for their speed. BP had no time until the 4thQ. He did well, kept cool and made some nice throws and some iffy ones.

  24. I was a little disturbed with Kyle’s first half game plan, but his second half game plan was nearly perfect, as was his clock management, so CHEERS TO KYLE SHANAHAN because tonight he proved to be one of the best in the business ….. EVER!

      1. Yah, well, I think he realized a FG there would be enough, and it actually was. Not worth risking a TO, so I get it. I’m not saying Kyle doesn’t tend to lean on the conservative side, because he does. But I thought, all in all, he was nearly perfect in the 2nd half, IMO, and they got the win with a dominant end of the game sequence, so … hats off.

    1. Let me just go on record saying that Kyle has redeemed himself! He was masterful in the 2nd half, yet again, and that’s what separates the goods from the GREATS!

  25. Just got home, don’t know if iv’e ever been this happy bout being wrong before. Is Bosa healthy?

    1. It looked like he was grabbing his abdomen after a play. Didn’t he have an abdominal injury that kept him out for some games some time the past couple of seasons (I can’t remember when)?

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