The 49ers did what they always do to open the game: Score on the first possession. This drive ended in six after an 8-play scoring drive where the Niners faced second down only twice, and didn’t see a third down snap.
Brock Purdy went 4-for-4 during the opening series, connecting with Brandon Aiyuk for two first downs. Then, Purdy found George Kittle in the end zone after scrambling for a 19-yard touchdown.
Not to be outdone, the defense forced a 3-and-out within no time and within a blink of an eye, the 49ers were up 7-0 and had the ball back.
Dallas found success defensively on their second series, as they got off the field on 3rd & 2 thanks to a batted pass from one of their interior defensive lineman. This was always going to be a seesaw matchup where one unit would have to pick up the other.
The defense forced another three-and-out, though Dre Greenlaw was fortunate to avoid an unnecessary roughness penalty. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead combined for a sack on third down, and the Cowboys were forced to punt.
Dallas appeared to have the offense stopped, but their safety jumped offsides on 3rd & 5, which is a cardinal sin against this Niners offense. After picking up another first down on a short pass to Kyle Juszczyk, a delay of game put the offense behind the sticks.
Purdy threw behind Aiyuk on first down then high to Ronnie Bell on second down. Micah Parsons blew up the third down play, which forced the punt team on for the first time. Mitch Wishnowsky pinned Dallas on the five-yard line.
Fred Warner made his first highlight play of the day as he dove after Tony Pollard and peanut punched the ball loose. Kevin Givens dove on the ball as it appeared he was in bounds. The ruling on the field stood, and the offense had the ball in the red zone.
In one of the most unpredictable outcomes, Christian McCaffrey, who looked like he may score, fumbled as he ran over a defender on the two-yard line. So, instead of going up two possessions, the Niners coughed the ball up and gave Dallas life.
Dallas cut it to 3rd & 2, but Fred Warner not only took away the route that Dak Prescott wanted to throw, but he sacked Prescott on third down. So, in two possessions, Warner had reminded everybody on national TV why he’s the best linebacker in the NFL.
Then, Kyle Shanahan took a page out of the Detroit Lions playbook:
That score made it 14-0.
Dallas woke up on offense, as Dak Prescott converted three third downs en route to an 11-play, 78-yard drive. Warner gave up a 20-yard reception on 3rd & 7, then Isaiah Oliver was beaten deep for 26 yards to make it 14-7.
Great teams answer a score with a score, and the Niners did just that. Purdy found Aiyuk for a 15-yard gain. Then, an unnecessary roughness penalty against Christian McCaffrey saved yet another drive. Shanahan dialed a screen pass to CMC, and the Niners were inside of the red zone after a Jordan Mason carry.
McCaffrey’s 1-yard touchdown plunge made it 21-7, and the defense stopped Dallas before the two-minute warning, giving the offense another chance to score before the half. But the Cowboys held as Aiyuk couldn’t haul in a pass on 3rd & 2. So, the 49ers defense would have to hold with about 50 seconds to play.
Dre Greenlaw sacked Prescott, and the Cowboys shut it down as it was 21-7 heading into the half. The defense held Dallas without a first down on six of their seven drives.
The Cowboys moved the ball into Niners territory to begin the third quarter thanks to Prescott scrambling and Lamb making a play. But Javon Hargrave made a run stop on 3rd & 2, which forced Dallas to settle for a field goal. That made the score 21-10.
One thing to keep an eye on for the 49ers was the injury front. Charvarius Ward wasn’t on the field for the third down stop, and left guard Aaron Banks missed the offense’s next series with a biceps injury. Jon Feliciano, who has missed time with a concussion, filled in for Banks.
Purdy found Aiyuk for a 41-yard gain, but that big play was negated due to Spencer Burford holding. But on 3rd & 14, Purdy found Deebo Samuel for an explosive play that put the offense inside of the 20-yard line. Purdy found Kittle for the third time, and the Niners took a commanding 28-10 lead.
Instead of the Cowboys answering with a score of their own, Tashaun Gipson caught what looked like a punt from Prescott to end Dallas’s hopes of making it a two-possession game.
The score went from 21-10 to 42-10 after Prescott threw another interception before the Niners imposed their will. Kyle Juszczyk scored, as did Jordan Mason, and it was a bloodbath.
A fun fact: The 49ers have always scored more points than they did as the season has progressed. Yes, they started the season scoring 30 three consecutive times, but it’s a fact, nonetheless.
For the third possession in a row, Prescott threw an interception. This time, it was Oren Burks who undercut the route. That would do it for the starters on both sides, as there was no reason to risk an injury.
Purdy finished the night 17-of-24 for 252 yards and four touchdowns. Mason led the team in rushing with ten carries for 69 yards. Kittle had 67 yards receiving while Aiyuk had 58 and Deebo not far behind with 55.
Against what was a top-3 defense by all advanced stats, the 49ers offense carved Dallas up with little resistance. This was a complete game, as the defense did not let up after a stellar first half. If anything, they got better when you factor in the turnovers.
The 49ers have the Cowboys number. Dallas was supposed to pose a challenge, and the game was out of hand early. 42-10. Next up, Cleveland