Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

20 quick observations from the 49ers’ playoff win over the Cowboys

Marc Adams
Jan 23, 2023 at 9:32 AM--

We started the season asking if Trey Lance could lead the San Francisco 49ers deep into the playoffs in his first season as the starting quarterback. Yet here we are watching Brock Purdy do that very thing, but as a rookie. And now Purdy has a chance to be the first rookie QB in NFL history to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Here are my quick observations from the 49ers' 19-12 Divisional Round win over the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Do punters get nervous, too? Mitch Wishnowsky had two bad punts to start the game. He settled down and finished strong, though.
  • Stop talking bad about Deommodore Lenoir. He's made big plays in back-to-back weeks.
  • Brandon Aiyuk is such a smooth route runner.
  • Can we ban QB draws for 49ers quarterbacks?
  • The 49ers' offensive line was getting manhandled in the first half. Brock Purdy had no time to throw, and the running backs had no holes through which to run. In the second half, that changed.
  • I wish Purdy would roll to his left less.
  • Postseason legends: Joe Montana. Tom Brady. Robbie Gould.
  • Just like last week, a personal foul on the 49ers' defense, right before the half, lets the other team get closer to scoring. Thankfully, the defense came away with an interception.
  • Kyle Shanahan called the drive right before halftime like he didn't trust his QB. Or his offensive line. It was strange. That said, they did end up with another Gould field goal.
  • Ray-Ray McCloud did what I was worried he'd do all season—pull a Kyle Williams. Ironically, it happened on the 11-year anniversary of the "Kyle Williams game."
  • Nice job by McCloud making up for it with a big kickoff return right after that.
  • The 49ers' offense wasted it, though. They were terrible for the first half, but finally showed up in the 3rd quarter.
  • The touchdown drive to take the lead was a huge one. 10 plays. 91 yards. They followed that with a 13-play, 64-yard field goal drive. The two drives used almost 14:00 of the clock (that's almost half of the second half, on two drives).
  • The 49ers' kickoff coverage team was terrible. Thankfully they did make up for it with a nice stop after the last field goal.
  • Fred Warner looked like "All-Pro Fred" in this game.
  • That one-handed, 30-yard catch by George Kittle. Good grief. I thought he was going to drop it. Then I thought he was going to be killed by Trevon Diggs.
  • Dre Greenlaw dropped what would have been the biggest interception of his career.
  • Then Arik Armstead decided to dance with Dak Prescott rather than sack him.
  • Elijah Mitchell normally plays smarter than he did on the run where he went out of bounds. That would have iced the game if he stayed in bounds.
  • If you were one of the fans calling for Shanahan to be fired several weeks ago, it's time to turn in your "Faithful" card.

The 49ers will head to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game next Sunday. This will easily be their biggest test. I believe they can win, but they will have to be much better than they were against Dallas.
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