Mission Street revelry returned to SF Sunday night, after the 49ers survived a bizarre ending to upset the Dallas Cowboys and position themselves for another possible Super Bowl run.
It may seem like the San Francisco 49ers have been wandering the desert of NFL mediocrity for a long time before their late-season Wild Card playoff push this season. But in reality, their most recent playoff win was less than two years ago to this day. It’s just that those two years have seemed like the longest two years of our lives, you know, for reasons.
But the 49ers established that they're absolutely back as a legitimate playoff contender on Sunday in a penalty-rich, 23-17 road win over the Dallas Cowboys that saw plenty of bizarre gaffes. It also may have cost them superstar defensive end Nick Bosa, and was perhaps aided by a slow-footed official in the final seconds.
Mission Street, as you can imagine, did its thing after the playoff win.
CBS paid an astonishing $70 million to carry the game in the prime Sunday afternoon slot, and early on, this looked like a commanding one-sided win for the Niners. On their first drive, they encountered no third downs, and only one second down while ripping off four consecutive plays of more than ten yards. They were up 10-0 at the end of the first quarter.
Yep that happened, the Cowboys punt really just hit the scoreboard— Cameron Hogwood (@ch_skysports) January 16, 2022
And did the Cowboys’ own garish, billion-dollar stadium hurt their chances? It may have! We’ll remember the punt hitting their oversized, hanging scoreboard (seen above), but the glare of the sun, thanks to a design flaw in the east-west AT&T stadium, killed a Dallas drive at the end of the first half.
"Who spends a billion on a football stadium and builds it facing East and West?" - Phil Simms pic.twitter.com/wCgBBGgCDg— Watch Mojo (@FletchousJ) January 16, 2022
Yet SF had its own problems right prior to halftime, as the team’s leading sackmaster Nick Bosa suffered a concussion (after being obviously held) with 1:19 left in the second quarter. But ESPN reports he may still clear protocol and play in the next game.
And with a 13-point lead and less than 10 minutes left in the game, the 49ers nearly blew this thing. Jimmy Garoppolo’s terrible overthrow led to a Cowboys interception that cut San Francisco’s lead to six points. Though the Niners appeared to put it away when Deebo Samuel very clearly had a first down with 1:21 left (I was sending victory texts, I admit!), an incredibly terrible spot by the officials left the 49ers short by an inch or two. Jimmy successfully executed a quarterback sneak for the first down, but Trent Williams was called for a false start, and they had to punt it back to the Cowboys to give them one last chance.
And Coach Shanahan blamed Jimmy. “It was quarterback sneak all the way, but Jimmy got real excited because of the look and didn't let Trent get set,” Shanahan told CBS Sports after the game. “He's got to let him get set.” (Is Shanahan looking for reasons to defend the inevitable offseason Garoppolo trade? Maybe.)
But everyone will remember this game for the wacky ending, when a slow-footed referee could not get to the ball in time to allow the Cowboys to run their final play. In reality, that was a stupid playcall by Dallas, because there is no guarantee you get that play off without stopping the clock. They should have gone out of bounds.
And below we see how the mighty Cowboys’ season would end.
The 49ers will now advance, and play the Green Bay Packers in an odd Saturday night playoff game in freezing cold Green Bay, where the Packers are 5.5-point favorites. But the 49ers previous most-recent playoff win, whose two-year anniversary is this Wednesday, was against… the Green Bay Packers.
Image: ARLINGTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 16: Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys attempts to tackle Deebo Samuel #19 of the San Francisco 49ers during the fourth quarter in the NFC Wild Card Playoff game at AT&T Stadium on January 16, 2022 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)