The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco 49ers have had equally disappointing seasons as both teams have been trampled with injuries. The 49ers have the most players on the IR list in the NFL with the Cowboys are right behind them. They are both playing with their backup quarterbacks, as neither teams have had the seasons they were expecting. However, both teams came to play in Dallas as it came down to the end of the game to decide the game winner. The Cowboys ended up getting the win 41-33.
Dallas got on the board first with a one-yard run by running back Tony Pollard, who took over for the injured Ezekiel Elliot in the game. Pollard did a great job in place of Elliot today with a total of 12 carries, 69 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Later in the first quarter, 49ers’ quarterback Nick Mullens was sacked by defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence that resulted in a fumble recovered by Aldon Smith. This put the Cowboys offense at the 49ers’ 24-yard line where Andy Dalton led the offense to a five-play drive to find wide receiver Michael Gallup for a three-yard touchdown to give the Cowboys a 14-0 lead. The Cowboys’ defense forced one fumble and two interceptions on the 49ers’ offense, the most the defense has forced all season.
Mullens was able to shake off the fumble play as he found tight end Jordon Reed for a five-yard pass to put the 49ers on the board. Mullens, then in the second quarter, found wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a two-yard pass to put the 49ers within three points of the Cowboys at the end of the first half.
49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould made a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter to tie the game up at 17-17. Dalton responded by finding tight end Dalton Schultz in the end zone with a great throw for 12-yards to put Dallas back in the lead.
Pollard came to the rescue again with a long 40-yard run to the endzone to give the Cowboys a 34-24 lead with two minutes left in the game. The Cowboys’ defense did a good job limiting the 49ers to just a field goal, where they attempted an onside kick.
The onside kick landed in the hands of wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, where he was able to hold on and run it 47-yards to the end zone to secure the win for the Cowboys 41-33 after a Hail Mary touchdown by the 49ers to end the game. This is the Cowboys’ first winning streak of the season, while the 49ers lost their third game in a row.
CeeDee Lamb to the house! @_CeeDeeThree
— NFL (@NFL) December 20, 2020
Lamb reflected on his 47-yard run and how he still feels like there is room for improvement in his game. “Honestly, it all happened so fast,” Lamb said according to the Dallas Cowboys. “It was a split-second decision. I heard it from the defensive guys afterward, knowing I should’ve taken a knee. but it was too open…Personally, I feel like I still have a lot to work on, and many others would tell you the same.”
Dalton spoke about the role Lamb played in Sunday’s game and how crucial his runs were for the team to get the points they needed in the game. “For me, I just had to give him a chance to go make a play,” Dalton also said to the Dallas Cowboys. “That was a big point in the game. Right after that completion we downed the ball and scored on the next play. That was a momentum changer, and that can change games.”
The defense for the Cowboys was not as strong as last week, however they managed to get important fumbles and interceptions which they have not been able to do all season. Head coach Mike McCarthy says he hopes his team can finish the season strong.
“If we don’t take care of our own business, nothing else matters,” McCarthy said to ESPN. “We’re clearly focused on what’s in front of us. We really want to finish strong with these two division games. That’s clearly my focus.”
With losses from the Eagles, Giants and Washington, Dallas is just one game away from the division lead. They will host the Eagles for a must-win game to keep their NFC East hopes alive this Sunday.
Last year’s NFC Champions were eliminated for the playoffs with the loss to the Cowboys. The 49ers look to will play against the Arizona Cardinals on Saturday afternoon at State Farm Stadium in Glendale Arizona.