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.