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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers solidify status as NFL’s best team with 42-10 statement win over Cowboys

Oct 8, 2023 at 8:29 PM--

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
DAL 0 7 3 0 10
SF 7 14 7 14 42

Sunday night's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys was billed as a early season showdown between two of the NFL's top Super Bowl contenders, but only one team came out of the game looking worthy of the designation.

The 49ers dominated the Cowboys 42-10 for their 15th consecutive regular season victory, marking a franchise record set over the course of the 1989 and 1990 seasons. Quarterback Brock Purdy threw for a career-high four touchdowns on 17-of-24 passing with 252 yards and zero interceptions. Three of Purdy's touchdowns went to tight end George Kittle, who totaled 67 yards receiving on the night.

Dak Prescott finished with 153 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions on 14-of-24 passing. The 49ers put on a dominant performance on defense, led by linebacker Fred Warner, who totaled eight tackles with one sack, one fumble recovery and one interception.

First Half

The 49ers opened the game with possession, then got a gift from the Cowboys on the first offensive play of the game when safety Donovan Wilson was flagged for a 15-yard personal foul on a face mask penalty. From there, the 49ers marched downfield without much resistance on a seven-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Purdy to Kittle. Purdy was 4-for-4 for 43 yards on the drive, with completions to wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel before finding Kittle wide open in the end zone to give the 49ers an early 7-0 lead.

The teams exchanged punts after the touchdown, then after a second punt from the Cowboys, the 49ers were able to move across midfield before a punt from Mitch Wishnowsky pinned the Cowboys at their own 5-yard line. From there, the 49ers' defense delivered what should have been a golden opportunity when defensive tackle Kevin Givens recovered a fumble from running back Tony Pollard that was forced by linebacker Fred Warner deep in Cowboys' territory.

But that opportunity wound up wasted after a clutch defensive play from the Cowboys. On a 2nd down run from the 10-yard line, running back Christian McCaffrey fumbled back to the Cowboys at the 2-yard line, keeping the 49ers off the scoreboard -- for the time being.

The 49ers defense held the Cowboys to another three-and-out after the turnover, due in part to a third down sack from Warner. Then, after a 14-yard punt return from Ray-Ray McCloud set the 49ers up at the Cowboys' 38-yard line, the 49ers reached into their bag of tricks to take a 14-0 lead on a razzle dazzle play that saw Purdy connect with Kittle for a 38-yard score.

The Cowboys came up with a much-needed response on the next drive, moving 78 yards in 11 plays to cut the 49ers' lead to 14-7 on a 26-yard touchdown strike from Prescott to wide receiver KaVontae Turpin. The touchdown was one of three third-down conversions from the Cowboys on the drive and came with 7:45 remaining in the second quarter.

The 49ers answered on the following possession, with the help of a costly penalty from the Cowboys. On a 3rd-and-4 at the 49ers' 46-yard line, Wilson was flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness after a hit on McCaffrey, giving the 49ers a first down at the Cowboys' 39-yard line. McCaffrey ran in from one yard out six plays later, giving the 49ers a 21-7 lead with just over two minutes remaining in the half.

The teams exchanged punts after McCaffrey's touchdown, then the Cowboys took over with 50 seconds remaining in the half but didn't add any points before the second quarter came to a close. The 49ers finished the first half with a decisive edge in first downs (14 to 4) and total yards (212 to 93), while Purdy finished with 133 yards and two touchdowns on 9-of-15 passing.

Second Half

The Cowboys opened the second half with a 50-yard field goal from kicker Brandon Aubrey to cut the lead to 21-10 after a six-play, 39-yard possession. Then the 49ers responded with a touchdown drive that put the Cowboys in a hole they couldn't dig out of. The 49ers committed what was nearly a drive-killing penalty midway through the drive when guard Spencer Burford was flagged for holding to negate a 41-yard third-down catch by Aiyuk, but Purdy responded on the next play when he found Samuel for a 43-yard gain to convert on 3rd-and-14. Three plays later, on a 3rd-and-2 from the 10-yard line, Purdy found Kittle a third time to put the 49ers up 28-10 after a seven-play, 75-yard drive.

The 49ers got the ball back on the next possession when a deep throw from Prescott was intercepted by safety Tashaun Gipson, who returned the ball to the 49ers' 38-yard line. The 49ers then put together a 12 play, 62-yard drive that saw Purdy connect on his fourth touchdown pass, this one going to fullback Kyle Juszczyk from one yard out to extend the lead to 35-10 early in the fourth quarter.

Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Cowboys. Prescott was intercepted on the second play of the next possession when his pass was deflected into the arms of Warner, who set the 49ers up at the Cowboys' 26-yard line after a 12-yard return. One play later, running back Jordan Mason glided into the end zone for a 26-yard scoring run and a 42-10 lead.

Prescott ended the next possession with his third interception of the night, this one going to linebacker Oren Burks. Sam Darnold entered the game at quarterback for the 49ers, who punted back to the Cowboys after five plays. The Cowboys took over at their own 1-yard line after the punt with Cooper Rush at quarterback, then punted back to the 49ers after six plays with just under five minutes left in the half.

The 49ers ran the clock under two minutes following the punt, then the Cowboys took over at their own 40-yard line. The Cowboys elected to run out the clock on their final possession, which ended with 10 seconds left on the clock. The 49ers downed the ball on the final play to move to 5-0 on the season with the win, while the Cowboys fell to 3-2 on the season and two games back of the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East with the loss.

Game Notes: Sunday night's win was the eighth consecutive regular season game of 30 or more points for the 49ers, which is the best mark since the 1999 Rams did it for 14 straight... McCaffrey's touchdown in the second quarter extended his franchise-record streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to 14 games... According to ESPN Stats & Info, Sunday night's game marked the eighth time Purdy passed for two or more touchdowns over his first 10 starts, tying Kurt Warner and Deshaun Watson for the best mark since 1950... Sunday's meeting was the 40th in series history. The 49ers took a 20-19-1 overall series lead with the win... The 49ers won the previous two meetings in the series, a 19-12 win at Levi's Stadium in the 2022 NFC Divisional round and a 23-17 win at AT&T Stadium in the 2021 Wild Card round... The 49ers were 3.5-point favorites heading into the game... Next up for the 49ers is an early afternoon game in Cleveland against the Browns on October 15 (1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, FOX). The Cowboys will be in primetime once again in Week 6 when they travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Monday, October 16 (8:15 p.m., ABC).

DAL Team Stats SF
140 Passing Yards 251
57 Rushing Yards 170
197 Total Yards 421
6.19 Avg Yards per Pass 10.12
3 Avg Yards per Run 4.15
1 Fumbles Lost 1
3 Int Thrown 0
4 Sacks Allowed 1
00:22:55 Time of Pos 00:37:05
6 Penalties 6

Cowboys Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Dak Prescott 14/24 153 1 3
Cooper Rush 2/2 8 0 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Tony Pollard 8 29 3.6 0
Rico Dowdle 5 15 3 0
Deuce Vaughn 3 7 2.3 0
Brandin Cooks 1 6 6 0
Dak Prescott 1 2 2 0
Cooper Rush 1 -2 -2 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
CeeDee Lamb 4 5 49 0
Tony Pollard 4 5 35 0
Jake Ferguson 3 3 28 0
KaVontae Turpin 1 1 26 1
Michael Gallup 2 5 15 0
Brandin Cooks 1 4 7 0
Deuce Vaughn 1 1 1 0
Rico Dowdle 0 1 0 0
Luke Schoonmaker 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Tony Pollard 1 1
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Brandon Aubrey 1 1 50 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Bryan Anger 5 43 1 54
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Deuce Vaughn 1 10 0 10
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Damone Clark 8-4 0 0 0
Malik Hooker 7-3 0 0 0
Donovan Wilson 7-2 0 0 0
Stephon Gilmore 6-1 0 0 0
Demarcus Lawrence 4-4 0 0 0
Micah Parsons 4-3 0 0 0
Markquese Bell 4-2 0 0 0
DaRon Bland 4-2 0 0 0
Jayron Kearse 4-0 1 0 0
Osa Odighizuwa 3-1 0 0 0
Johnathan Hankins 3-1 0 0 0
Dorance Armstrong 2-2 0 0 0
Malik Jefferson 2-1 0 0 0
Chauncey Golston 2-1 0 0 0
Jourdan Lewis 2-1 0 0 1
Leighton Vander Esch 10-6 0 0 0
Sam Williams 1-1 0 0 0
Dante Fowler 1-0 0 0 0
Neville Gallimore 1-0 0 0 0
Mazi Smith 1-0 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Brock Purdy 17/24 252 4 0
Sam Darnold 1/1 1 0 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Jordan Mason 10 69 6.9 1
Christian McCaffrey 19 51 2.7 1
Deebo Samuel 5 30 6 0
Tyrion Davis-Price 6 21 3.5 0
Sam Darnold 1 -1 -1 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
George Kittle 3 4 67 3
Brandon Aiyuk 4 7 58 0
Deebo Samuel 3 3 55 0
Christian McCaffrey 2 3 27 0
Kyle Juszczyk 4 4 26 1
Jauan Jennings 1 1 19 0
Ray-Ray McCloud 1 1 1 0
Jordan Mason 0 1 0 0
Ronnie Bell 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Christian McCaffrey 1 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 4 44.3 2 59
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Ray-Ray McCloud 4 9.8 0 14
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Fred Warner 8-3 1 1 1
Oren Burks 5-3 0 1 0
Dre Greenlaw 5-0 1 0 0
Nick Bosa 4-2 0.5 0 0
Isaiah Oliver 4-1 0 0 0
Deommodore Lenoir 3-2 0 0 0
Ambry Thomas 3-0 0 0 0
Arik Armstead 2-2 0.5 0 0
Tashaun Gipson 2-1 0 1 0
Kevin Givens 2-1 1 0 0
Charvarius Ward 2-0 0 0 0
Clelin Ferrell 2-0 0 0 0
Austin Bryant 1-1 0 0 0
Ji'Ayir Brown 1-1 0 0 0
Javon Hargrave 1-0 0 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 1-0 0 0 0
Dee Winters 1-0 0 0 0

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