SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy rolled left to see the first few options covered. In his final second, George his kittle free broke deep into his run, Purdy threw it to his body, and Kittle made a juggling catch, causing San Francisco’s only touchdown on his drive. .
That one big play proved enough to send the 49ers to their second straight NFC title game thanks to a breathtaking defensive performance.
Christian McCaffrey finished the drive with the go-ahead 2 yard run From there, the defense fell apart, leading to a 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
Purdy, the 49ers’ undefeated rookie quarterback, said: “Everyone did their part. This is playoff his football and it’s never going to be easy, but we’re moving forward.”
The 49ers (15-4) overwhelmed the Cowboys (13-6) with consecutive long scoring drives in the second half to win their 12th straight game. San Francisco will face the Eagles in the NFC title game in Philadelphia next Sunday after losing to the Rams a year ago.
Since winning their fifth Super Bowl title following the 1995 season, the Cowboys have suffered a record seven consecutive divisional round losses and missed the NFC title game.
Dak Prescott threw two interceptions and Brett Marr missed his fifth extra point of the postseason when his attempt was blocked. He later scored two field goals.
“Just a disappointment,” Prescott said. “The defense gave us a chance to win this game. They played hard against a really, really good offense, a really good team. It starts with me. I have to get better. There’s no other way to sugarcoat it.”
The key play was the second play of a drive late in the third quarter that saw the game tied at nine. Purdy performed a bootleg that Dallas covered in full.
But he waited long enough for Kittle to improvise and be upfield. Purdy then went on strike.
“I needed something,” Purdy said. “It took a spark to get the ball rolling.”
Kittle bobbled the ball several times before finally corralling it for a 30-yard gain and admitting to delivering it to the rookie QB.
“I wasn’t even leading, so I just saw space and he hadn’t thrown it yet, so I was up the field,” Kittle said. and I was just trying to be dramatic… just for TV.”
McCaffrey capped the 91-yard drive with a TD run.
The Cowboys trailed 19-12 after Robbie Gould’s fourth field goal of the game capped a nearly eight-minute drive, still shot behind when they took over at their own 18 with 2:59 remaining. was
However, Prescott pitched two consecutive failures and was dismissed on third down. Coach Mike McCarthy elected to punt on 4 and 10 in all three remaining timeouts.
Purdy started the next drive with a 16-yard completion to Kittle, and San Francisco didn’t give the ball back to Dallas until there were 45 seconds remaining. The Cowboys took over at the age of six and never got close from there.
“I like being in that position,” Prescott said. “We just couldn’t do anything.”
Purdy, the last pick in last April’s draft, has improved to 7-0 as a starter since replacing the injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in Week 13.
He went 18-28 for 215 yards without a turnover against the Cowboys and is the only rookie QB to have two playoff starts, behind Joe Flacco (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009). have become.
“I’m no longer in shock,” said McCaffrey. “That’s exactly what he is.”
The top two scoring teams in the NFL over the past 13 weeks have gone awry as defenses led by All-Pros San Francisco’s Nick Bosa and Dallas’ Micah Parsons have controlled play.
The Niners picked Prescott twice in the first half before Gould turned them into field goals to lead 9–6 at the break.
The Cowboys scored their only TD of the first half as Prescott connected with tight end Dalton Schultz for the third time this postseason. However, Marr’s low extra point attempt was blocked by Samson his Ebcam.
Maher got some redemption when he scored a 25-yard field goal that tied the game at 9 early in the third quarter after Ray-Ray McLeod fumbled a punt return at the San Francisco 21.
“It felt like regular playoff football,” Bosa said. “That’s a really good team.”
just for the kick
The Cowboys’ decision to stick with Maher after missing four extra points last week looked questionable when he missed an early extra point. Marr’s five PAT mistakes are his second-most among his NFL kickers in the playoffs. Roy Gerrera missed 6 of 43 attempts in Houston and Pittsburgh in the 1970s.
As Maher was warming up, there was a pre-match dust-up. Trent Williams and the rest of his 49ers tried to block his attempt from the San Francisco side of the field, leading to a brief argument.
Cowboys: RB Tony Pollard was sidelined late in the first half after injuring his left ankle after being tackled after a reception. He didn’t return to the game. … DT Calvin Watkins (calf) sent off in the first half.
49ers: DE Charles Omeniffe (Oblique) was sidelined in the first half but is back in the game.
The 49ers reached their second Super Bowl in the past four seasons with their win in Philadelphia.
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