LISTEN: Reacting to John Lynch & Kyle Shanahan Presser + Injury Concerns Ahead of Camp →
placeholder image

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers’ Path to Victory against the Cowboys

Brian Renick
Jan 14, 2022 at 9:00 AM

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
The San Francisco 49ers are renewing a long-time rivalry when they travel down to Texas to face the Dallas Cowboys in a Super Wild Card Weekend matchup.

The Cowboys are a formidable opponent, earning the 3–seed in the NFC after a regular season that saw them go 12-5 on their way to winning the NFC East division title. The 49ers are going to have to bring their A-game if they hope to leave Big D with a win on Sunday afternoon.

Let's take a look at what the 49ers will have to do on each side of the ball if they hope to be victorious.

On Offense

The 49ers ended the regular season with the 5th ranked offense according to Football Outsiders' DVOA metric—the first time they have finished in the Top 5 during the Kyle Shanahan era. If you break that down even further, they ranked 5th in both rushing and passing DVOA. In other words, the team was incredibly balanced.

It's no secret that the 49ers first priority in every game is to establish the run. Kyle Shanahan's offensive system is predicated on the run game opening up opportunities for explosive plays in the passing game. In fact, according to Ben Baldwin (@benbbaldwin on Twitter), the 49ers passed only 43% of the time on early downs in neutral situations, which was the third lowest mark in the league.

Even though opposing teams know that Shanahan and the 49ers offense want to run the ball, they are still incredibly difficult to defend because the team gets to their base outside zone scheme from so many different formations. It causes opposing defenses to think first, rather than react, and it's that split second that can make all the difference in the world. It also doesn't hurt that they have the best blocking tight end, fullback and left tackle in the game.

When the running game is hitting on all cylinders, it keeps the offense ahead of the chains and in advantageous positions on third down. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo thrives in the quick passing game. His release is one of the quickest in the NFL, and when the offense finds itself in third and manageable distances, that quick release gets the ball into the hands of his playmakers in space, letting them rack up yards after the catch and explosive pass plays.

The Cowboys defense finished #2 overall in defensive DVOA, but their rush defense finished 16th. They gave up 14 rushes of 20+ yards on the season, which tied for third most in the NFL. That stat has a lot to do with the run support, or lack thereof, in the secondary.

The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
Enjoy this article? Follow us to never miss more!

Powered by


  • No Comments


More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

Deommodore Lenoir trusts Brock Purdy can lift 49ers to Super Bowl victory

By David Bonilla
Jul 16

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy recently failed to earn a spot on ESPN's top quarterback rankings, a list compiled by Jeremy Fowler after surveying nearly 80 league executives, coaches, and scouts. "He's very good at navigating the pocket, buying time, using his...

placeholder image

Fred Warner on 49ers legend Patrick Willis: "That's what I'm always chasing"

By David Bonilla
7 hrs

Patrick Willis is set to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2024. Willis spent his entire distinguished NFL career with the San Francisco 49ers, who made him the No. 11 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. Over his eight NFL seasons, he...

placeholder image

Kyle Shanahan, Brock Purdy speak after 49ers' first training camp practice

By Site Staff
7 hrs

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback Brock Purdy spoke to reporters on Wednesday, after the team's first practice of training camp. Here is everything they had to say. Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff. Opening...

placeholder image

Training camp: Aiyuk, Williams-less 49ers hit the practice field

By David Bonilla
6 hrs

The San Francisco 49ers hit the practice field for the first time during training camp, with two notable non-participants. The first was Brandon Aiyuk. The wide receiver surprisingly reported to camp with his veteran teammates yesterday but did not participate in any on-field...


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone