In what was mostly a defensive battle, the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional round of the Playoffs. The stunning reality of what happened on Sunday evening had clearly not been lost on the owner of the Dallas Cowboys.
He… stood firmly behind his quarterback
Jerry Jones minces words often, but not in this instance. He fully credited the 49ers with their efforts. He blamed no one for the loss and stood firmly behind his quarterback. He spoke as genuinely as ever, and even appeared to get sentimental.
The Cowboys were driving down the field as the 2nd quarter was in the final minutes. The game-defining play was a less than savory tackle by Jimmie Ward. He grabbed the waist of Pollard and pulled as he dropped his weight on the running back’s plant foot. Pollard’s ankle and body went different directions.
This left Twitter users in a frenzy:
“That Jimmie ward tackle of Pollard is a dirty tackle also… pulling a guy down by dropping your weight is dirty” wrote @saved_x_love.
Another user who goes by the handle @NG101la wrote “Jimmie ward is a dirty player straight up.”
This forced injury was unnecessary
While injuring the Cowboys dynamic game-changing player was hopefully not Ward’s intention, this forced injury was unnecessary by the nine-year veteran. A traditional wrap-up of the legs still would have prevented the first down.
His hit on Geno Smith a week prior made fans of the Seahawks quite unhappy as well.
Following the injury to Pollard, Prescott threw an interception on the next play. The 49ers rookie quarterback was able to drive the ball down the field and get them into field goal range, where Gould drove it through the uprights.
At the half the score was 9-6.
The Cowboys offense would struggle throughout the rest of the day, only making it inside field goal range once more.
Prescott missed the mark on Gallup in man coverage on a skinny post play that likely would have gone for six. Gallup had beaten his defender but had to readjust for a contested incompletion.
Prescott’s league leading interceptions, plus two more in the Divisional Playoff game are a stinging reminder that this just wasn’t his season.
The 49ers front seven are daunting, but Zeke being unable to carry the load without Pollard is another painful reminder that he’s on a steady decline in production. He’s a short yardage runner and a good blocker, but no longer a feature back.
Two big, missed opportunities
Diggs missed his chance to pick off a tipped pass because he didn’t watch it into his hands. In a separate play, he went for a hit on the ball and missed instead of just putting a hit on the juggling Kittle. These were two big, missed opportunities in the game.
Mike McCarthy couldn’t escape the blame, either. This was the second year in a row of atrocious clock management in the final minutes of a playoff game.
Dalton Schultz not driving forward while going out of bounds kept the clock running. The following play, fans were wondering why Prescott ran a play instead of spiking it. They lost 22 precious seconds before the clock would stop again.
Jones issued an apology to “hundreds of thousands” of Cowboys fans, though, judging by the social media accounts of each team, the fanbase is more likely in the tens of millions. Either he doesn’t realize how many fans the Cowboys organization has, or he just (accidentally) slighted the majority of them.
This was ultimately just another year of disappointment for most fans. The stack of missed opportunities and losses has started to grow into something of an eyesore.