49ers Mailbag: Are the Cowboys better than last year?

The 49ers are set to square off against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s Stadium.

It is no surprise that this week’s mailbag was full of questions about the Wild Card win over Seattle and the upcoming matchup with Dallas.

Frank Guzman, @fguz78 – “Nick Bosa had zero recorded QB pressures against Seattle. Did Seattle figure out a way to limit Bosa and can we expect Dallas to use the same formula?”

Seattle didn’t do anything out of the ordinary on Saturday to limit Nick Bosa.

The Seahawks were committed to the run game in the first half, as evidenced by their 2:1 run-pass ratio. This, along with the use of play action and Geno Smith getting the ball out quickly, was all it took to keep Bosa at bay.

Expect to see more of the same from Dallas on Sunday.

Francisco Castro, @Francis38966129 – “Would you say that the biggest question for the Niners is the defensive secondary rather than the niner offense?”

The only question with the 49ers’ offense is the quarterback. Brock Purdy continues to answer the bell every week. San Francisco can beat anyone if he doesn’t turn the ball over. This week he will face a Dallas defense that forced the most turnovers in the regular season.

The biggest question this week will be the San Francisco defense. They have allowed 20 or more points in three of their last four games. Three of those are coming against teams with solid run games, something they will be up against on Sunday.

John, @BobbyZ13 – “What was it in the way the Seahawks defended the 9ers that resulted in such wide-open targets?”

Seattle was committed to stopping the 49ers’ run game, primarily when Christian McCaffrey lined up in the backfield.

On several occasions, the underneath defenders for Seattle bit on the play fake and San Francisco took advantage by running routes across the middle in the vacant area.

Black59Razor, @Black_59_Razor – “Why does Demeco Ryans send Talanoa Hufanga after the quarterback so much?”

Using Hufanaga as a rusher is a good change-up for San Francisco.

Hufanga has rushed the passer on just 37 of his 1,079 snaps this season. The second-year safety has recorded two sacks, one quarterback hit and five hurries when rushing the quarterback.

Jgrover1533, @jgrover1533 – “The 49ers are a better team this year than they were last year. The Cowboys are not any better than they were last year. If I’m wrong, tell me why.”

The Cowboys are better than they were a year ago.

Losing Dak Prescott in the beginning of the season may have been the best thing that happened for Dallas. That injury forced Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to lean more heavily on the run game to help backup quarterback Cooper Rush.

San Francisco has struggled against teams that can run well. The 49ers have allowed 99 or more rushing yards six times this season. They are 2-4 in those games and have allowed just over 24 points per game in those contests.

Dallas has also improved defensively. The Cowboys’ pass rush is second only to Philadelphia this year after being near the middle of the pack a season ago.

This article has 23 Comments

  1. I think the Seahawks kept a RB/TE in and chipped on Bosa more than I remember other teams doing it. On KNBR this Morn. G. Papa said that Kris Kocurek is rotating in a brand new 4 D linemen every third possession. Papa said when the 2nd group was in they weren’t very effective. I see wanting to rest Bosa but it limits his pass rush attempts.
    This week will finally be the “Purdy test” we have all been waiting for. If he can handle Dallas’s D he can beat anyone.
    Hufanga has either sacked, hit or hurried the QB 8 times out of 37 blitz opportunities, is that a good percentage when blitzing.
    I’m hoping the short week, 2 long flights and an especially raucous Levi crowd will make the difference this week

    1. Lots, lots of sports writers, pundits, oddsmakers saying Purdy won’t be able to handle the Dallas D and will fail the test and perform as a young, inexperienced rookie QB typically would in a major playoff game watched by millions. Almost as if all these sports commentators all inherently biased toward Dallas. I can’t fathom why. Ratings, clicks maybe???

      1. Thats perfect. Sounds a lot like what everyone also said about TB12 way back when. All I know is pundits talk all about what Brock Purdy cant do and he just does it.

    2. speaking of which, Jack, how does Kinlaw look since his return? I have not heard much about him….

  2. Dallas has been wildly inconsistent. They lost to the Jags and Washington in December. They had to score a last minute TD to beat the Texans. Dallas is a good team and they can certainly beat the 49ers. But I like the 49ers in this game. Cowboys secondary are very big guys which usually means quick twitch route runners can get open. Aiyuk could have a big day. Then I’d like to see Kyle scheme up some plays to force Vander Esch into 1v1 coverage in the pass game. He is a significant liability. 49ers D line does scare me a bit in this game. Victory could hinge on interior d line play. Armstrad, Givens, & Kinlaw need to play well or it could be a shoot out.

    1. What 1.6 Patriot said is true. But! Don’t forget about Micah Parsons! He a lot more dangerous than Vander Each. He will be looking to pressure our good rookie Brock Purdy. He should be accounted for. I’m sure the 49ers watched the game like I know they better have. This is going to be the toughest game in the playoffs for the Niners, so they have GOT to play sound football. They better have that MENTAL GAME,too. Meaning limiting stupid penalties and limiting big plays. GOOO NINERS!!

  3. John Breech, who’s a solid oddsmaker, puts Dallas 34-31 over the Niners. Breech says that “since Brock Purdy took over the starting job, the 49ers haven’t really been tested because they haven’t faced any good teams. Purdy has looked great, but he’s faced five teams in the regular season that finished with a combined record of 35-49-1…
    Purdy and the Niners won’t make the conference title game. ”

    He says it will be the Giants & Cowboys in the title game.

    Sunday can’t come soon enough. Win or lose, the Niners have had a terrific season.

      1. Depends on if Purdy turns the ball over leading to those 35 points. Think of a reverse Trevor Lawrence Jags-Chargers game. 4 TDs in the first half and 4 INTs in the second half.

    1. Niners played the commanders this season and spanked them, commanders also beat cowboys this year, does that mean they didn’t play good teams? The 9ers are a much better team this year AND with the additional running back CMC along with Elijah Mitchell. 9ers Playing at home rested while the cowboys having two take two planes after beating the Bucs short week. I pray that my team along with the Niner Faithful they Win!

  4. Drake Johnson inactive for 2 games was the signs the D to focus more in the middle of the line. Hope Kinlaw makes some noise this week. Waiting for him to come back for months but largely has been quiet. The D better not making dumb mistakes such as late hits or taunting.

  5. Ooh, yeah. I almost forgot. In a way the Niners are under a little bit of pressure ( not that they can’t handle it ). The reason. Because the Cowboys are motivated by how they lost to us last year. They will be pumped up. They wanted us. They got us. So we BETTER be ready for them. Because if we mess around and let them make big plays while they stop us, the Niners will be joining us Fans – the Niner Faithful – at home watching the games. Please don’t let that happen, San Fran.

    1. Capt K, In regards to what you just said in MHO..Dallas is just putting pressure on themselves to win the game like they got something to prove. They are getting in their own heads. They feel the need to play head games with them selves to play a good game? Does not help that they have to go into a game with a kicker that just missed 4 kicks in a Playoff Game

  6. Yeah, the Boy’s are coming in with a chip on their shoulder after the inexcusable mistake on the last play of the playoff game last year. They feel that except for that play they could have been in position to win.
    And they do have a run game with Pollard and Zeke that could make big plays.
    Yes, I believe that they are better than last year.

    But I also believe that the 49ers are better than last year as well. The addition of C. Ward has solidified the secondary, while J. Ward has had a very good season. Our LBs are finally intact and the Dline is being helped with Kinlaw starting to get some rust off with more snaps.

    The offense is better beginning with Purdy. Purdy’s ability to stay poised and confident breeds a sense of assurance for the entire offense. Also, his football intelligence is far better than any rookie QB that I’ve seen over time.
    And on the talent comparison between the two teams, the 49ers have CMC, Kittle, Deebo, Aiyuk, Jennings and now Mitchell. The last 49ers offensive team with this much fire-power was back in 80′ and early 90.’
    The 49ers are a Superbowl team in the making.

  7. I know i’m a broken record but my biggest concern is our O line Vs one of the best run stuffing/pass rushing groups we have faced this year. How many tackles for loss did we give up last week?

  8. Dallas is good however the 49ers are in their heads, everyone is all hyped up about the way they beat Tampa last night, if you recall the 49ers did the same thing. Last year we had Jimmy who threw two costly picks, Deebo was our whole offense. Today our offense is (Balanced) Deebo, CMC, BA, 3rd and Juan, Mitchell, Kittle. 49ers O-line will be tested however Purdy to this point has had FANTASTIC pocket presence, which will be the difference maker in this game.
    The 49ers are much more physical on both sides of the ball, minus Pollard.

    The 49ers have the most balance offense in the NFL right now, it’s going to be too much for them to stop.

    1. Lots of sports writers, pundits, oddsmakers disagree. Many, if not most, picking Dallas, citing youth & inexperience of BP against talented, aggressive Dallas d-line.

  9. This is such lazy analysis on why Dallas is better because they’ve learned to lean on the run game and SF is 2-4 when a team rushes for 99 yards or more. In those four losses, there wasn’t a single player that rushed for over 100 yards. Those are also SFs only losses and they were earlier in the season when they weren’t playing complementary football. Be better.

  10. Just saw from Akash Anavarathan that the Cowboys are 32nd in the league in DVOA given up to WR2 this season. So who do they consider to be WR1 and WR2 for the 49ers? They may switch out their coverages more against the 49ers since, in my opinion, the 49ers have 2 WR1s. I wouldn’t mind seeing the 49ers go with a split WR set with both CMC and Mitchell in the backfield and then motion CMC to the slot. Who’s going to cover CMC on a quick slant or even a Slugo – a safety? Neither Hooker or Kearse are fast enough to cover CMC. Hooker ran a 4.4 but he definitely doesn’t play that fast. Kearse is a 4.65 guy. The other thing I think this really opens up is the little leak out passes to McCaffery. In my opinion, Purdy’s mobility has really disguised some of the interior O-line pass pro issues. With quick pressure having McCaffery as a security blanket will be huge in this game. I’d love to see the 49ers be a little less predictable and get Mitchell some love in the passing game too.

    And on Bosa not getting pressures in the Seattle game, I think the wet turf effected Bosa maybe more than any other player that game. I saw him go to the ground multiple times in that game right off the snap. Give credit to their tackle, because he did play well but that footing surely impacted Bosa’s game. I have ZERO concerns about Bosa. He will bring the heat in this game.

  11. McCaffrey and C.Ward are the difference this time. It’s too bad Moseley and Verrett went down or this could have been a historically great D. As long as Purdy plays mistake free, Niners win!

  12. With Ran Carthan signing to be Tenn. next GM the 9ers get another 3rd round pick. When Ryans signs as a HC that will make it 4 3rd round picks. I wonder if they will try to package 3 of those picks to move into the bottom half of the 2nd round, giving them 1 2nd, 1 3rd, 3 5ths, 1 6th, 2 7ths. Not a bad haul considering the Lance and CMC trades.

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