NFL News & Analysis

NFL Wild Card Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 23, Dallas Cowboys 17

Arlington, Texas, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) runs for a touchdown after catching a pass in the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys in a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It was too little too late for a Dallas Cowboys offense that just kept shooting itself in the foot on NFL Super Wild-Card Weekend. In the end, they bit off too much time on a quarterback draw with no timeouts, and the clock ticked to zero as Dak Prescott spiked the ball.

The San Francisco 49ers now travel to face the one-seeded Green Bay Packers in the divisional round.

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San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback

This was not a banner Jimmy G performance by any means. The Niners quarterback went 16-of-25 for 172 yards with no touchdowns and a pick, throwing the ball 6.4 yards down the football field on average.

The veteran passer did record one big-time throw right before the half, but he was also responsible for two turnover-worthy plays, one of which was a bad interception with the game going down to the wire.

 

Running Backs

Elijah Mitchell ran tough and churned out positive yardage all game long. While only five of his 27 carries resulted in a first down, he kept the offense on schedule. In all, 85 of his 96 yards came after contact. 

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Deebo Samuel continues to be this offense's superhuman. It wasn’t what he did through the air in this one, but rather what he did on the ground — he toted the rock 10 times for 72 yards and a touchdown. His versatility was a nightmare for the Cowboys to try and defend.

 

Offensive Line

The 49ers guards got torn up by the Cowboys defensive front in this one. Daniel Brunskill and Laken Tomlinson combined to allow six pressures on only 25 dropbacks. The rest of the offensive line allowed only three total.

Defensive Line

When the 49ers traded a sixth-rounder for Charles Omenihu in November, it didn’t create much of a wave around the league. However, that trade looks genius in retrospect after Omenihu registered two sacks and five total pressures in the 49ers' win. 

Linebackers

All eyes will be on Fred Warner and his injury prognosis going forward. The 49ers defense goes as Warner goes, and it’s not a coincidence that the Cowboys finally started to move the ball after the 49ers linebacker went down with an injury. 

Secondary

Ambry Thomas had been under fire toward the end of the season but came to play on Sunday. He allowed only two catches from four targets for 24 yards with a forced incompletion. If his performance holds up after review, it will be Thomas' third straight above-average PFF coverage grade.

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Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback

Dak Prescott looked all the way out of whack right up until the final play when he handed the ball to his center instead of the official, wasting precious time his team did not have. Prescott went only 3-of-10 for 82 yards on passes thrown 12-plus yards past the line of scrimmage.

Running Backs

The Cowboys didn’t quite have the same commitment to the running game the 49ers had. Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for only 45 yards on 16 carries. There wasn’t much room to work, though, as the Cowboys' offensive line struggled all day.

Wide receivers/Tight ends

Dalton Schultz had himself a day, and he was about the only member of the Cowboys' receiving corps who showed up for the occasion. He caught all seven of his targets for 89 yards, with four going for a first down.

Offensive Line

The Cowboys got a drastically uncharacteristic performance from left tackle Tyron Smith, who allowed seven pressures on 51 pass-blocking snaps. The veteran tackle allowed just 11 pressures over the entire regular season, showing just how much of an anomaly tonight was.

Defensive Line

The Cowboys defensive line had quite the undisciplined performance, as they were flagged a ridiculous five times on the day, including a couple of massive defensive holding calls. Randy Gregory himself was flagged three times in a rough day.

Linebackers

Micah Parsons didn’t disappoint in his first-ever playoff game, as his five defensive stops led all players in the game. While he wasn’t deployed as a blitzer much (10 snaps), he still got home for two pressures.

Secondary

Jourdan Lewis has had an up and down season, but he was the best player in the Cowboys secondary Sunday. He was targeted five times and allowed only two catches for 10 yards.

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