It is almost time for the San Francisco 49ers and the Dallas Cowboys to reignite their historic rivalry in the Divisional playoff round Sunday evening.
The Dallas Cowboys are looking to dominate just like they did in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dallas handled the Buccanneers with relative ease in a 31-14 victory in Monday’s NFC Wild Card Game. It was the first playoff win for America’s Team since 2018.
Dak Prescott outplayed Tom Brady in a dominant performance and finished 25-of-33 passing for 305 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions while adding 24 yards and a score on the ground.
Conversations after Monday’s performance wasn’t just about the record-breaking win, but also about the kicker Brett Maher, who missed four extra points that night, the most misses in any NFL game — regular season or playoff — since 1932.
Despite the misses, Dallas has decided to stick with the four-year pro.
“That’s our brother. We’re not going to turn our back on him,” Ezekiel Elliott said after practice. “Last week, we didn’t really need him. But this week we probably will. So get that (stuff) together.”
Dallas’ star quarterback Dak Prescott sprinkled in some expletives while wondering why the Cowboys weren’t trying 2-point conversions instead, but Prescott calmed down enough Monday night to try to lift up his kicker and was even more supportive with several more days to think about it.
“I’m a ‘Money Maher’ fan,” Prescott said. “I haven’t lost any confidence nor am I going to force my game or do anything outside my box because of uncharacteristic misses by him. I think he’ll get back to himself this week as he has done here at practice, and I trust that guy all the way through.”
PRESCOTT, PURDY PLAYING AT HIGH LEVELS
Both team’s quarterbacks had impressive games in the Wild Card Round, and both teams look like offensive powerhouses heading into Sunday.
Prescott threw for 305 yards, four touchdowns and ran for another in Dallas’ impressive win at Tampa Bay. It was a much-improved performance over the way he ended the regular season, with 11 interceptions over his final seven games.
Dak Prescott’s amazing performance against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers drew plenty of praise on social media from the sports world.
With so much praise also comes criticism– fans call Prescott “inconsistent” in his performance. So, will Prescot silence his critics this Sunday?
BROCK PURDY MAKING NOISE ON THE FIELD
San Francisco QB Brock Purdy’s performance has been less expected than Dak’s turnaround.
The rookie quarterback threw for 302 yards, three touchdowns and scored another on the ground. Purdy became the first rookie signal-caller to account for four touchdowns in a playoff game while throwing for the most yards by a rookie in a playoff win since Sammy Baugh in 1937.
“I definitely won’t underestimate him,” Cowboys linebacker/edge rusher Micah Parsons said. “He might have surprised some people early on into thinking no rookie is going to come in and beat us and he’s taken them this far. Super excited to go against him to see what he’s got.”
Purdy was the last player drafted (No. 262) in 2022. The fact he’s the 10th rookie to start in a divisional playoff game isn’t lost on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. He was the last rookie to start a divisional game, in 2016.
“I like all underdog stories,” Prescott said. “When you’re Mr. Irrelevant or third quarterback and your number is called and you show up, I’m a fan of you. Yeah, I’m a fan of all these guys in the locker room that have had to step in and play and I just think it speaks to the way you prepare, you’ve not gotten down because you’re not a starter. I’m the biggest underdog fan in the world.”
Prescott said he’s an underdog story himself, being a fourth-round pick, “yeah, hell, you guys still think I suck.”
Dallas has won five of the last eight against the 49ers but lost 23-17 to San Francisco at AT&T Stadium in the Wild Card Round last year.
WHO WILL THE WINNING TEAM PLAY IN THE NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME?
The Dallas Cowboys and the San Francisco will decide on the visiting team for the championship game next Sunday, against Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles and whoever takes away the win will have to face “Michael Jordan” according to Eagles coach Nick Siranni.
“I know this is high praise, but to have him out there is like having — I shouldn’t even go there — it’s like having Michael Jordan out there,” Sirianni said while comparing Jalen Hurts to Jordan when asked about the emotional boost the quarterback gave his team in its 38-7 crushing of the New York Giants in Saturday’s playoff game.
“To me, nobody has played any better football than him this year,” Siranni said.
That was all on display against the Giants as Hurts threw for two touchdowns and ran for another.
Here’s how to watch tonight’s matchup with the Cowboys and 49ers for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
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