The San Francisco 49ers eliminated the Dallas Cowboys from the NFL playoffs with a 19-12 win on Sunday night at Levi’s Stadium.
After a defensive battle through most of three quarters, San Francisco took control as tight end George Kittle made an incredible catch on a ball that was bobbled several times in the open field, and a three-yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey broke a 9-9 tie as the final quarter began.
Facing a fourth down and 10 with just over two minutes remaining, the Cowboys decided to punt the ball back to San Francisco with four more chances to stop the clock (the two-minute warning and all three timeouts).
On a second down play with 1:53 left, 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell ran for 13 yards to pick up a first down, which would have iced the game. However, Mitchell went out of bounds and allowed Dallas to keep its two remaining timeouts for another play. Dallas would stop San Francisco and get the ball back with 45 seconds to go – needing to go 94 yards to tie the game.
After a completion to tight end Dalton Schultz, it looked like the Cowboys were starting to move the ball. However, Schultz went out of bounds going backward after being contacted by a defender, which allowed the clock to keep running.
Schultz also stepped out of bounds while trying to make another catch on the drive, resulting in an incompletion upon review.
The Cowboys had 76 yards left to gain with five seconds left and came out in a flag football type of rotation with running back Ezekiel Elliott playing center. Dak Prescott’s pass was completed to KaVontae Turpin, who was tackled immediately to end the game.
WHAT TO KNOW
This was the ninth playoff game between these two franchises, which ties an NFL record.
Dallas has now lost three consecutive games to San Francisco and has been eliminated from the playoffs by the 49ers in each of the last two seasons. The Cowboys have not made it to the NFC Championship Game since 1996.
Cowboys’ running back Tony Pollard left Sunday’s game with a high ankle sprain with 1:36 remaining in the second quarter. Elliott ran for 26 yards in his place.
San Francisco has won 12 games in a row, with the last loss coming against the Kansas City Chiefs, who will be hosting next week’s AFC Championship Game against the Cincinnati Bengals on October 23.
BY THE NUMBERS
Prescott threw two interceptions in this game, giving him 17 interceptions on the season. He had already thrown a career-worst 15 interceptions during the regular season, which was tied for the worst in the league with Houston’s Davis Mills.
San Francisco rookie quarterback Brock Purdy is now 7-0 in his career as a starter since entering the lineup in Week 13, including 2-0 in the playoffs.
Dallas kicker Brett Maher, who missed an NFL record four extra points in his team’s wildcard win against Tampa Bay, had his first attempt on Sunday blocked. Maher did not miss another kick after that, going 2/2 on field goals throughout the contest.
“Playing at a high level being around the best players in football, he’s awesome and confident in the huddle,” Kittle said of Purdy when asked about the rookie after the game.
“He’s just doing a great job. The best part is he shows up every single day. He’s humble, and all he wants to do is get better, and he’s gonna be great for us next week and just keep going after that.”
“Guys played their asses off,” Prescott said of his team’s performance.
“Defense gave us the opportunity to win this game. Played hard against a really good offense, a really good team. And for us to only put up the points that we did, that’s unacceptable. And that starts with me, and I’ve got to be better. No other way to sugarcoat it.”
San Francisco moves on to next Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the Eagles in Philadelphia.