San Francisco 49ers 23-17 Dallas Cowboys: 49ers hold off late Cowboys comeback to win thrilling Wild Card clash
The 49ers are next on the road at the Green Bay Packers, on Saturday night, in the divisional round of the playoffs; the Dallas Cowboys were penalised a massive 14 times for the cost of 89 yards in their defeat; San Francisco lost star defensive end to a concussion just before half-time
Last Updated: 17/01/22 8:44am
The San Francisco 49ers are moving on to face NFC No 1 seed, the Green Bay Packers, in the divisional round of the playoffs after holding off a late Dallas Cowboys comeback to win a thrilling Wild Card clash 23-17 on Sunday.
Story of the Game
The 49ers broke out into a 13-0 lead in the second quarter, with Dallas struggling to get anything going on offense, and the visitors stretched their advantage to 16 points when Deebo Samuel ran in for a 26-yard touchdown immediately off the back of a Dak Prescott interception in the third quarter.
Samuel was a star throughout for San Francisco, tallying 110 yards from scrimmage, with 72 of those coming on the ground in a dominant 49ers rushing display. Rookie Elijah Mitchell had 96 yards rushing and a touchdown on 27 carries.
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Dallas came back fighting in the final quarter, first eating into San Francisco's lead with a Greg Zuerlein 51-yard field, before Prescott cut the deficit to six with eight minutes left after scoring on a five-yard touchdown shortly after 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo tossed up an interception.
The 49ers ground game ate up a large chunk of the remaining clock, but Dallas still had a couple of opportunities to keep the game alive. Just inside the two-minute warning, on 4th-and-11 from the San Francisco 47-yard line, Prescott - under heavy pressure - heaved the ball downfield to a wide-open Cedrick Wilson, who couldn't quite haul in a low, diving catch.
The Cowboys would get the ball back one last time with 32 seconds left and Prescott quickly fired off a couple of completions to put them in position for a Hail Mary attempt or two from the 49ers 41-yard line. But instead, with 14 seconds to play with, the Cowboys called a quarterback run to try and sneak some more yardage before a final shot for the endzone, but they couldn't clock the ball in time after Prescott's 17-yard scamper and so time ran out.
It was a slightly controversial end to a thrilling game, with the referee seemingly getting in the way as Prescott desperately tried to get his offense lined up to spike the football with seconds to spare. The referred must touch the football between every snap in order for it to be a valid play, but by the time he did, it was too late for Dallas.
- Passing: Jimmy Garoppolo, 16/25, 172 yards, 1 INT
- Rushing: Elijah Mitchell, 27 carries, 96 yards, 1 TD
- Deebo Samuel, 10 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD
- Receiving: Brandon Aiyuk, five catches, 66 yards
- Passing: Dak Prescott, 23/43, 254 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
- Rushing: Ezekiel Elliott, 12 carries, 31 yards
- Receiving: Dalton Schultz, seven catches, 89 yards
- Amari Cooper, six catches, 64 yards, 1 TD
|49ers 7-0 Cowboys||Eli Mitchell four-yard TD run (extra point)|
|49ers 10-0 Cowboys||Robbie Gould 53-yard field goal|
|49ers 13-0 Cowboys||Robbie Gould 40-yard field goal|
|49ers 13-7 Cowboys||Dak Prescott 20-yard TD pass to Amari Cooper (extra point)|
|49ers 16-7 Cowboys||Robbie Gould 52-yard field goal|
|49ers 23-7 Cowboys||Deebo Samuel 26-yard TD run (extra point)|
|49ers 23-10 Cowboys||Greg Zuerlein 51-yard field goal|
|49ers 23-17 Cowboys||Dak Prescott five-yard TD run (extra point)|
The 49ers struck first, with Mitchell running in from four yards out to cap a surgical, seven-play, 75-yard drive from the visiting side.
San Francisco continued to have their way with the Cowboys on offense, though they would be unable to find the endzone for a second time, with Robbie Gould instead forced to kick a hat-trick of field goals, which he did with aplomb - two of his efforts coming from over fifty yards out.
Before the third of those Gould kicks, Dak Prescott and the Cowboys finally woke up on offense, the quarterback finding wide receiver Amari Cooper in the back-right of the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown with a beautifully timed, lofted pass.
But the 49ers seemingly took a firm grip of the game in the third quarter when K'Waun Williams intercepted Prescott and Samuel broke free on a stunning 28-yard touchdown run to see points scored off the turnover.
Zuerlein managed to eat into San Francisco's lead slightly with a 51-yard field goal, following off the back of a successful fake punt play earlier in the Dallas drive which saw Bryan Anger complete a 16-yard pass to C.J. Goodwin.
But, with the game already in the fourth quarter, it didn't look like the Cowboys had the necessary firepower - against a stout Niners D - to put up the quick points they required - until Garoppolo gave them a gift on the next series.
On 2nd-and-10 from their own 44-yard line, on a pass intended for Trent Sherfield, Garoppolo was picked off by Anthony Brown, who returned it to the 49ers' 28-yard line. Five plays later, Prescott scrambled in for a five-yard rushing TD and we suddenly had a six-point ball game.
The drama wouldn't stop there, but the Cowboys - despite their best efforts at the end - ultimately left themselves with too much to do and too little time to pull it off.
The 49ers will next play on Saturday, on the road in Green Bay against the NFC No 1-seeded Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs. The two teams met earlier in the season, in Week Three, in which the Packers emerged 30-28 winners in San Francisco.
The Wild Card round concludes when the Arizona Cardinals visit the Los Angeles Rams in the early hours of Tuesday morning, live on Sky Sports NFL, to determine who progresses to play Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl-champion Buccaneers in Tampa Bay next Sunday.
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