ARLINGTON, TX—On Sunday, January 16, a classic rivalry was renewed when the San Francisco 49ers traveled to square off against the Dallas Cowboys. This would be the first time the two met in the wild card playoff portion of the NFL playoffs.
The last four times these two franchises met in the playoffs, the winner advanced and won the Super Bowl. The 49ers had been on fire lately winning seven out of their last nine games including a win or go home game against the Los Angeles Rams. The San Francisco 49ers claimed a 23-17 victory.
The 49ers began strong with a touchdown on their opening drive. Imposing their will early, it seemed like they owned the line of scrimmage and the all-important time of possession. Dallas struggled to get even a first down, and the big three of Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot and Amari Cooper were nowhere to be found. The 49ers defense would not let Dak get comfortable in the pocket and also stuffed the running game dominating the first half talking a 16-7 lead into halftime.
However, the Cowboys would not go quietly into the night. The 49ers would only score one touchdown in the second half, while Dallas would add a 51-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlien and a five-yard run by Prescott that would pull the Cowboys to within six.
Then the real fireworks began in spite of no points scored. Dallas continued making key penalties that prolonged San Francisco drives and took momentum from the home team. Offsides, holding, and illegal hands to the face were some of the plays that showed a lack of poise and contributed to the Dallas loss. A whopping 14 penalties were called against the Cowboys, and with a team as good as the San Fran Clan this would not cut it.
On the final Cowboys drive with only 14 seconds left on the 49ers 41-yard line, the Cowboys took a gamble. Prescott took off on a scramble gaining 13 yards on the ground. It ended up being the final play of the game as the referee ran into Prescott as he tried to set the ball up for a last second play as the clock expired on Dallas’ season.
San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo played well and with Deebo Samuel and Elijah Mitchell running the ball and controlling the clock, it would lead the 49ers date with the Green Bay Packers in another classic showdown to see who will advance to the NFC Championship in frigid Lambeau Field Wisconsin.