49ers vs Cowboys Defensive Relapse


John Pozadzides

Photo credit: John Pozadzides

Jorge Gonzalez, OwlFeed Sports Reporter

In one of the most important games of the year, both teams are some of the best-ranked this year. #1 and #2 ranked defenses in the league, the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers faced off against each other on January 22nd, 2023. With so much leading up to this game, more than just their seasons on the line, an  immense amount of pressure was put on both QBs along with tons of doubt put on both QBs.

Photo credit: Kieth Allison

Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott had been criticized all season long on his performance, especially under pressure, and despite being one of the most dominant teams in the league he was highly doubted to even beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who didn’t do nearly as good as them in the regular season. Tons of pressure perhaps even a job on the line for the quarterback position in Dallas but on the other side “Mr. Irrelevant” would play his “first real defense” as the media would say. Taking on the nickname Mr. Irrelevant” 49ers QB Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, was faced with his first big challenge. Starting the regular season Purdy was the 3rd string QB behind Trey Lance and Jimmy Garappolo and no doubt he and everyone else around the NFL didn’t expect him to be starting a game in the playoffs or even be starting at all.

Going into week 14 Purdy had his first start in the NFL due to both QBs ahead of him getting severely injured and he was putting on a show. Being the first QB to not lose a game in his starting region and being the first ever QB to beat Tom Brady ever he was far exceeding expectations around the NFL. Going into the playoff game against the Cowboys Purdy was 6-0 in every game he had played including his win over the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs the week before. But this game was different to everyone around the world, analysts all saying the same thing, that he hadn’t played a defense like the Dallas Cowboys’ yet and he would struggle against it. But the same being said for Dak Prescott on the opposing side in a must-win game to prove himself against the #1 ranked defense and well the analysts were right. It was a defensive showdown, reminding everyone of the previous year’s playoffs where the Niners triumphed against the Cowboys and they did it again.

Photo credit: Jerome Miron

Both years it was a battle of the defenses both performing at the best possible level they had all season. But this year was different, Dallas QB Dak Prescott struggled noticeably more this year than he did the previous year throwing 2 interceptions that if avoided could have no doubt changed the outcome of the game. Last year, the Dallas Cowboys lost to time running out on a horribly called play causing their season to end. January 22nd, 2022 would be a relapse of that exact result.

After a defensive performance by both teams only allowing 1 touchdown each and nothing more than field goals the Dallas Cowboys trailed 12-19 with 4 seconds left. A touchdown could tie the game keeping their season alive but the same as 2021 on the last play of the game a horrible play call ended their season with time running out and nothing they could do to prevent it. After the game tons of criticism came towards Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott especially on the social media platform Twitter. Some of that criticism even came from the Dallas Cowboys’ official Twitter account. The Dallas Cowboys account tweeting that quarterback Dak Prescott had thrown 2 possible game-changing interceptions and the win would have been possible if he hadn’t kept again generated “self-inflicted wounds”. Now as this is likely friendly fire from a team organization just narrating the game nonetheless it couldn’t have felt good for Dak to hear about that and all the other criticism around the world and have to think about what could happen to him next season.

Though most of the media 100% agreed with them and obviously encouraged his criticism because in their eyes he did indeed lose the game. Sending them somewhat rivals the San Francisco 49ers a round ahead of the playoffs for the second year in a row for a chance to win the Super Bowl.