Handing out game balls from 49ers 19-12 win over Cowboys

On to Philadelphia. The 49ers will take on the Eagles next Sunday for the right to go to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Az. Sunday’s matchup will mark the sixth time San Francisco has played for the NFC title in the last twelve years.

In a physical matchup featuring several stand out performances from several players, San Francisco outlasted the Dallas Cowboys to take to their twelfth consecutive victory by a score of 19-12.

Let’s hand out some game balls:

Fred Warner

Warner lived up to the nickname “All-Pro Fred” against Dallas. The linebacker led San Francisco’s defense with nine tackles including one for loss. He was solid in coverage as well, allowing only two receptions for 15 yards on four targets.

Warner’s interception late in the first half took away a Dallas scoring opportunity. The interception was his first since picking off Patrick Mahomes in Super Bowl LIV.

In the second half Warner was in perfect position once again. After showing blitz, he raced back into coverage, running stride for stride with Dallas receiver CeeDee Lamb. His positioning kept Lamb from making a catch deep down the middle and forced a punt.

Jimmie Ward

Ward finished the night with seven total tackles, one for loss, and broke up a pair of passes from Dak Prescott.

With Dallas driving deep into 49ers territory late in the second quarter, Ward read the inside route of Lamb perfectly. Although he was unable to get the interception, Ward’s deflection became a turnover when Warner grabbed the ball and headed the other way.

Deommodore Lenoir

Lenoir came away with the first big play of the day for San Francisco when he picked off a Prescott pass along the left sideline intended for Michael Gallup. The interception was Lenoir’s second of the postseason and set the 49ers offense up deep in Dallas territory leading to the first points of the game.

Samson Ebukam

Ebukam recorded a sack of Prescott, his first sack of this postseason and third of his career.

The sack was the second big play of the game for Ebukam who blocked the extra point attempt of Brett Maher following a Cowboys touchdown in the first quarter. The blocked PAT was the first by a member of the 49ers in postseason history.

Without that extra point, Dallas saw the 49ers tie the game with a field goal and never managed to regain the lead.

George Kittle

The Purdy to Kittle connection was alive and well against Dallas. Kittle caught all five targets which came his way for 95 yards. Four of the five receptions went for 16 yards or more.

Kittle had a pair of key plays on the 49ers lone touchdown drive.

On the third play of the possession Kittle made a bobbling catch down the middle of the field. Kittle wasn’t supposed to run a route of the play, but when he saw Purdy unable to find a receiver the tight end took off into an open area of the field. Purdy saw Kittle put his hand up and made the throw to get the offense across midfield.

Later in the drive, Kittle drew a holding penalty from Cowboys safety Donovan Wilson on third and long to nullify a Cowboys sack and extend the drive.

Brock Purdy

For the first time since stepping in for Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy did not throw for at least two touchdowns.

Despite being held without a touchdown pass it was a solid effort which saw Purdy complete 19 of 29 attempts for 214 yards. He is the first rookie quarterback since at least 1970 to throw for at least 200 yards in back to back postseason games.

Purdy completed passes of at least 17 yards on each of the 49ers five scoring possessions and once was terrific in the second half for the second game in a row. He has now completed 16 of 21 passes for 270 yards and two touchdowns after halftime during this postseason run.

Christian McCaffrey

Against Dallas, McCaffrey finished with 16 touches for 57 yards and scored the 49ers only touchdown with a two yard run up the middle on the first play of the fourth quarter.

McCaffrey’s touchdown gave him at least one in eight consecutive games. The touchdown streak is the longest of his career and the longest by a member of the 49ers since Terrell Owens in 1998.

Elijah Mitchell

Mitchell finished as the 49ers leading rusher with 14 carries for 51 yards.

After having only one carry for two yards in the first half, the second year back helped San Francisco take control of the game in the second half. Mitchell picked up 49 yards on 13 carries after halftime and was a big reason the 49ers were able to control the clock.

Offensive Line

The 49ers offensive line struggled with the speed of Dallas’ defense in the first half, limiting San Francisco to just 27 yards on eleven rushing attempts.

In the second half the big guys up front were ready for the challenge, creating rushing lanes for McCaffrey, Mitchell and Deebo Samuel. With improved blocking up front the 49ers were able to gain 86 yard on 21 second half rushing attempts to put the game away

Robbie Gould

Gould connected on field goals of 26, 28, 47 and 50 yards along with his lone PAT, marking his second consecutive postseason game with four field goals. The veteran has never missed a kick in the postseason. He is 29 of 29 on field goals to go along with 38 of 38 on PAT’s.

Gould’s 21 postseason field goals as a member of the 49ers is the most in franchise history.

This article has 50 Comments

  1. The 49ers did what I wanted them to do. They clamped down on CeeDee Lamb and just played good defense. As I figured, it was mostly a defensive game between two good teams. Now, it will be no less tough against the Eagles. They have the best record for a reason. But I think if the Niners play even better than they did against Dallas, we can pull off the upset.

    1. I’m not sure 10 catches on 13 targets for 117 yards is the equivalent of “clamped down” but okay. 😝 Maybe more accurately they clamped down on Dallas’ other targets for the most part.

      They did play great defense overall. It also helped that Pollard went down relegating Dallas to just one playmaker.

  2. If we had one game ball to give out it would be to Kittle. He had a monster game.

    Not sure why you love this O-line so much. They got manhandled for much of that game. 3.5 ypc, 2 sacks, and a bunch of QB hurries. I don’t think they were terrible. Give some credit to the Cowboys defense. But definitely not game ball worthy.

    Fred Warner was all over the place. He really did have a great game.

    I also thought Dre Greenlaw played well but that boneheaded personal foul really cost the team. He must clean that stuff up. I may get mad enough to write a very sternly worded letter to John Lynch.

    Lenoir did play well and I think he deserves a game ball. BUT how is it that he always seems to give up a deep pass in every game. Does he just not have good ball skills? He seems to be in place but he doesn’t make the play.

    1. He wasn’t there on the deep ball to Lamb. It was underthrown, causing him to collide with the receiver.

      He’s going to get burned all day
      if he’s left alone on either AJ Brown or Devonta Smith. I’m just hoping they give him help over the top. If he’s on Smith he’s not keeping up, if he’s on Brown he’s getting manhandled. He’s not going to high point the ball against either of them.

      Bosa better get to Hurts before he has time to take 50/50 shots downfield, which is more like 70/30 against Lenoir.

  3. Lets turn to next weeks game. I am predicting a replay of the Vikings and Packers 2019 playoff games. The 49ers will run the ball 40 or more times this week and will make about 15 surgical play action passes. Defensively, like yesterday they will have 2 or less sacks but will attempt to keep Hurts in the pocket while shrinking the pocket. Some are criticizing Bosa for not getting sacks but he is forcing the QB up in the pocket and not giving up to many running yards to the QB. After being sooooo wrong last week i’m going to stay away from a final score prediction but I will say if they can run the ball 40 times or more they will win.

  4. Hey Hammer,

    What adjustments, if any, we’re made to the blocking schemes from the first half to the second half?

  5. Not sure if the 49ers O-line should receive all credits for the 3rd and 4th quarter. As predicted, Cowboys D-line ran out of gas in the 2nd half due to their short week schedule, long traveling, jet-lag, and they gave all-in during the 1st half. Some 49ers offensive players did lobby coaches to run straight at them, and it worked. They have power runner in Mason and he would have been ideal in those situations

    1. Mason is a powerful runner. He is, I believe their best cut back runner when the 49ers use their outside zone package. I hope KS uses him this week especially with CMC and Mitchell not completely healthy. The problem is KS doesn’t seem to have full trust in him.

      1. Kyle doesn’t trust rookies. Don’t tell him Purdy is a rook, I think he’s got Kyle fooled into thinking he’s 35 years old with that poise in the pocket. 😉

  6. Let’s also toss a game ball to John Lynch who in record time dashed from the coach’s box to the field so that he could be seen racing out with the victorious Niners players post game and raise his profile for the “NFL Executive of the Year” Award. Shameless, if you ask me. Don’t ever recall John McVey, Carmen Policy doing anything remotely comparable. But this is 2023 and face time matters.

    1. This is a bizarre comment. Lynch is a Hall of Fame football player. The last thing I get from him is that he is a shameless glory hound. I don’t see what you see at all. If anything, I think he craves being around the team after a great playoff win. The atmosphere on the sideline and in the locker room must have been awesome.

    2. Shameless? How so? Are you really Grant Cohn? There is, without a doubt, an elevator that leads from the coaches suite to the field level…John Lynch, having been a player himself, knows exactly what his players are feeling because he’s been there…no shame in wanting to take part in celebrating with players and coaches after a big win…

    3. This is a non-story. GM’s CORD’s and even owners have made their way down to the field to celebrate a big win.
      Oh, and by the way, all the 49ers players Lynch celebrated with, are those he drafted and signed as FAs.

  7. Offensive line apparently allowed a 48% pressure rate, I don’t think that is game ball worthy. They opened no holes for the run game for over half the game. I get you like the big boys, but sometimes you just need to be real and give them the criticism they deserve.

    I also understand you don’t feel McGlinchey is a bad player. But I have never seen a huge assed OT get thrown around the way he does. The low lights film of McGlinchy is just comical. How many times can he literally be thrown around by smaller men? Yes, I also know it was just one play, but he is just one of one when it comes to his low light film.

    1. The only complaints about the Oline comes from fans . Experts think our Oline is very good and that McGlinchey is having one of his best years. No one is perfect and no matter how big, strong and tough you are, there is always someone more than your equal. Don’t forget, the men on the other side are professionals and they get paid also. Next year McGlinchey is going to get paid Millions of dollars because he is one of the 32 best right tackles in the world.

      1. Go away, you have the worst takes on everything. Nobody here respects your mindless ass kissing and total lack of critical thinking.

        1. Imagine if every one of our players was “the 32nd best” overall at their position.

          Lmao we could be looking at a number one overall pick next season! 😂

          The fact is McGlinchey is having a solid season overall, especially considering his prior years which isn’t saying much if anything at all.

          He will get paid to be above average or just average or mediocre and justify it depending on how much effort and preparation he puts into his off-season.

          The fact still remains he was picked #9 overall in the draft. And by that account he’s been not very impressive.

          I think it was the Arizona game in the prior season where he absolutely got trucked by a smallish defensive back. I’m trying to remember who exactly, but it was an awful moment caught on film.

          That said, he still had a decent year this year. And yeah he does still get absolutely laid out on occasion like church clothes on a Sunday (I can’t take credit for the phrase but i love it.) 😃

          Still, we have bigger problems on the interior of the line than we’ve had on the outside. Yet here we are going up against the Eagles who have four pass rushers with double digit sacks. Yikes!

          Lastly, remember he’s been playing with two broken ribs most of the season. A pretty tough thing to do.

        2. Gorjira,
          Brilliant. I gave evidence to back up my opinion and all you can provide is name calling.

        3. One of the major constructs of critical thinking involves “problem solving.” How do you solve McGlinchey’s problem of getting thrown around?
          I’ve watched every game that McGlinchey has played and I can maybe recall only a handful of times that he’s been thrown around by a smaller player.

          Serious analysis is also a large part of critical thinking. Do you have any video of McGlinchey getting thrown around by smaller guys to support your comment?

          1. I am the furthest thing from a McGlinchey fan but even I have to admit he has been at least Avg. this year. There are three ways to alleviate the 49ers pass blocking issues this week. They are run the ball, run the ball and run the ball. If the 49ers can’t run the ball successfully this week (starting with the first drive not starting in the 2nd half) they will lose and likely will lose big.) KS needs to not be fancy using lots of gadget plays just take it to the Eagles. Then after running the ball successfully they can use play action to give Purdy time to throw. I said in an earlier post that for the 9ers to win the game it needs to look a lot like the Minn. and GB games in the 2019 playoffs, about 40 runs or more and Approx. 15 passes. imho

  8. I think the Dallas D also deserve a game ball.
    I was impressed how they kept the pressure on with their fast blitzes.
    They proved that Purdy is the real deal!

    1. This is a good point, as it was good practice for this weekend. Gotta give it to Purdy for responding as well as he did.

  9. Gavin,
    your comments make sense and I appreciate your humor.
    Re: Your comments about Hufanga on the previous board. Hufanga’s blitzes had done nothing since early in the year except for the Dallas game when he was unblocked. Just about any DB could duplicate that. He doesn’t compare to the efficiency of K’Waun Williams. I think he’s a liability. I admit his play bothers me more than it should because he’s so overhyped — that’s not his fault. That’s my failing. I’d much rather have Jimmie Ward play strong safety, but losing Verrett and Moseley forced Ward into the slot. Two years ago, Tarvarius Moore bulked up to compete with Taart. The rap against Moore was that he took “bad angles” — too bad, he ran a 4.32 40.

    1. Solid points. And thank you. There’s thing thing about Hufanga I really like- I want to say leadership qualities. I can’t quite put my finger on it but he seems totally present at all times and I think that bull in a china shop mentality seems to keep everyone else around him aware and alert as well. Team needs guys like this- Warner is another one…. when it’s easy to go through the motions and lay down if you’re not having a great game as a defense, it’s good to see one guy looking to bust through and change the complexion of the game. It’s his spirit and energy, I suppose. It rubs off on the team and keeps their heads in the game. Also, it’s a leadership quality- his teammates see a guy who is extremely confident and not scared, and I think that helps the lesser guys on the team. Much like those great Ravens’ defenses who had similar guys at all three levels- I think it’s a recipe for keeping everyone’s heads in the game. Between him, J. Ward, Warner, Greenlaw, Bosa, Armstead I see a team that isn’t scared to go into a hostile city under the worst weather conditions and come out with a victory. The game up in Green Bay last year comes to mind. Last year we had Tartt who was solid on the back-end, but he wasn’t the guy who the younger guys looked at in the huddle and thought “he’s going to will us through.” The more guys you have who are leaders, the better you’ll play on the road. I think Huf can clean up some of his mistakes. As you mentioned, most of his successes came very early in the season when no one game planned for his risky maneuvers. Now it’s time for him to learn to counter what defenses are doing to him to take advantage of his aggressiveness. He’ll learn that- I’m confident of that. It’s part of coaching and growing as a player. I think he’ll be a solid member of this secondary for a long time.

      1. Also, Jimmie Ward has been phenomenal in the slot and much better than what we had in Williams. It’s like having another leader closer to the line of scrimmage and can play linebacker with coverage skills in zone schemes. Case in point- the last play of the game where he came up and leveled Turbin. He’s able to cover much more than just his assignment when he’s playing zone- it’s a huge advantage for this defense and why they decided to keep him in at slot instead of moving him back to safety after recovering from his injury.

      2. I agree. To be succinct, he is overly aggressive at times leading to mistakes on coverage and his tackling is sometimes very poor. He also has been selected to the pro bowl and will get better as time goes on.

    2. I honestly think Hufanga should bulk up a bit to be a light WILL type coverage linebacker. I mean he already plays half the time in the box as an additional linebacker anyway. As a linebacker he’s an asset in coverage. As a Safety he’s a liability.

      1. Can you explain why he’d be an asset in coverage as a linebacker but not as a safety. In My opinion, he isn’t making the correct reads and I don’t see why that would improve by changing positions.

        1. Because in deeper coverage there’s more space for you to have to account for. So if you’re off a little bit you’re off by a lot in reading a passing concept or taking a pursuit angle. In shorter area fields you can either drop into a short to intermediate zone and not be far off if you misread the pattern. In pursuit, the shorter the distance between Hufanga and the ball carrier the less problem bad pursuit angles are. As a box safety vs. linebacker responsibilities….I dunno it depends on the coverage? If they’re playing Palms/Blue he’s initially lined up deep (sometimes it looks like the safeties are lined up sort of staggered initially) and then drops down if the #2 receiver goes short or would have to go vertical if the route goes up for more than 5-7+ yards (I can’t remember) if he’s reading the #2 receiver. If they’re playing Cover 3 Liz/Rip then the box safety has read #2 responsibilities and then would have to go vertical with the #2 (slot or TE usually) if the #2 goes up (again, 5-7+ yards?). I know they run Palms, I’d be surprised if they don’t run read 2 from Cover 3 as well. But as a linebacker in Palms or Liz/Rip the linebackers simply have short and intermediate zones (probably pattern matched). As a box Safety playing man coverage, Hufanga would probably be in trouble unless he’s playing against a stiff TE.

          1. This is a head-spinning reply, that’s on me, but your bottom line is perfectly clear and makes sense. Thanks for taking the time.

            1. Defensive schemes and assignment gobbledygook aside, basically avoid putting Hufanga in space, line him up deep or run with a receiver to cover vertical routes.

      2. Seems like people here have targeted Hufanga for some of his flaws. Most agree that his angles and lack of speed are a liability. This term (liability) has been used on more than a few occasions.

        It’s a little baffling to me that the 49ers have won 12 games in a row with Talan in the lineup. The way some have been critical of him it’s a wonder that the 49ers have won any games at all.
        The way I see it, winning 12 games straight is quite an accomplish and everyone in the starting lineup is part of that.

  10. Charles Omenihu was just arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor domestic violence. Apparently cops were called and his gf claims she was thrown to the ground and her arm was in pain. Police did not find any visible injury to her arm, and she declined to press charges when they showed up.

    But the timing absolutely sucks. He’s been able to generate pressure and make plays on the QB when Bosa hasn’t been getting to the quarterback in the playoffs.

    This will go to the DA to figure out whether they will do something about it. I doubt they will do anything based on the initial report, but it will still screw up this team heading into the NFCCG.

    What a dumba$$.

    1. Agree, what a dumb ass. Also I’m glad the girl friend apparently wasn’t injured. I hope this teaches him a lesson. Never hit a women.

      1. Ever think maybe he didn’t do it? Women have never been known to lie? Why is someone accused instantly guilty? The police said they saw no evidence of him hurting her. I don’t know if he is guilty or not, I will wait for it all to play out. If he is guilty he needs to be punished.

        1. Good point. It might just be a he said she said at this point without any physical evidence. If that’s the case this might just blow over. Still it’s a good reminder to not hit or shove a women.

          1. I think the message is to not assault ANYONE unless it’s done in self-defense (or for the safety of someone else) and a legitimate fear for your (or their) safety.

  11. Nice write up, Jack.
    I like your game ball winners.
    Fred Warner had one of his better games on Sunday and def was a difference maker.
    Also, Hufanga made his presence felt on a couple of blitzes to Prescott’s blind side. While not hitting Dak, it still was enough to make him vigilant of the prospect of getting a blind side hit. Giving a QB something more to think about is an advantage for the defense.
    Question, did Kinlaw play on Sunday?

  12. He won’t play this week and that will effect this weeks game in a big way. His loss is as big as losing any of our DL with the exception of Bosa. I wonder if his loss will swing the line at all.

      1. The team but the league can step in. I doubt the DA will make a decision by Sun. After Ray Rice teams and the league always err on the side of the alleged victim.

      2. I hope the team can find its way to play him. The article in the paper didn’t say he has a history of that, and the woman said he knocked her down but the police didn’t see bruising. I’m not saying she’s telling a lie. I don’t know, and that’s the point. She could have tripped and blamed it on him. Obviously she was incredibly mad at him. Maybe they were breaking up. Who knows? And, again, that’s the point.

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