The San Francisco 49ers are proving to be a resilient and formidable team in the NFC, as they pulled off another nail-biting victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, thanks to their star quarterback Brock Purdy. The 49ers won 31-28 on a last-second field goal by Robbie Gould, improving their record to 3-0 and maintaining their lead in the NFC West.
Purdy shines despite injury scare
Purdy, who is coming off a remarkable rookie season that ended with a torn UCL in his right elbow, showed no signs of rust or hesitation as he led the 49ers offense with poise and efficiency. He completed 25 of 32 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. He also ran for 47 yards on six carries, including a crucial 15-yard scramble on third-and-10 that set up the game-winning kick.
However, Purdy also had a scary moment in the third quarter, when he was hit hard by Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons and landed awkwardly on his right arm. He stayed down for a few seconds, clutching his elbow, before getting up and walking to the sideline. He was examined by the medical staff and returned to the game after missing only one play.
“I thought it was just a huge challenge, just the way he got hit on that one,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Purdy. “I know he was hurting a little bit. But he didn’t hesitate. He got back in there and made some huge plays after that.”
Purdy said he felt some pain in his elbow, but it was nothing serious. He praised his teammates for their support and their performance.
“I’m fine. It was just a little stinger. I’m good to go,” Purdy said. “I’m just proud of this team. We fought hard. We faced some adversity. We made some mistakes. But we never gave up. We stuck together and we found a way to win.”
49ers defense bends but doesn’t break
The 49ers defense also had its share of challenges, as it faced a potent Cowboys offense led by Dak Prescott, who threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns. The Cowboys had several big plays, including a 75-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to CeeDee Lamb in the second quarter, and a 49-yard catch-and-run by Amari Cooper in the fourth quarter that set up a tying touchdown.
However, the 49ers defense also made some key stops, especially in the red zone. The Cowboys had to settle for three field goals in four trips inside the 20-yard line, and the 49ers also forced a turnover on downs in the third quarter, when they stopped Prescott on a fourth-and-1 sneak.
The 49ers defense also came up with a crucial interception in the final minute, when safety Jimmie Ward picked off Prescott’s pass intended for Lamb at the 49ers 45-yard line. Ward returned the ball to the Cowboys 38-yard line, giving the 49ers offense a chance to win the game.
“I just read the quarterback’s eyes. He was looking at Lamb the whole time. I just jumped the route and made a play,” Ward said. “It was a big moment for us. We knew we had to get the ball back for our offense. They’ve been carrying us all game.”
49ers overcome penalties and mistakes
The 49ers were not flawless in their victory, as they committed 10 penalties for 85 yards, and also had some costly turnovers. Purdy fumbled the ball twice, losing one of them, and running back Raheem Mostert also lost a fumble in the first quarter. The Cowboys capitalized on the 49ers’ mistakes, scoring 14 points off turnovers.
The 49ers also had some questionable calls go against them, such as a pass interference penalty on cornerback Emmanuel Moseley that negated an interception by linebacker Fred Warner in the second quarter, and a roughing the passer penalty on defensive end Nick Bosa that extended a Cowboys drive in the fourth quarter.
However, the 49ers did not let the penalties and mistakes derail them, as they showed their mental toughness and their confidence in each other.
“We know we’re not perfect. We know we have things to work on. But we also know we have a lot of talent and a lot of heart on this team,” Purdy said. “We don’t let the refs or the other team get in our heads. We just focus on the next play and the next opportunity. We trust our coaches and we trust each other. That’s what makes us a great team.”
49ers look ahead to next challenge
The 49ers are off to their best start since 2019, when they went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl. They have won three consecutive games by a combined seven points, showing their ability to win close games and to overcome adversity. They have also beaten some quality opponents, such as the Green Bay Packers, the Philadelphia Eagles, and the Cowboys.
However, the 49ers are not satisfied with their early success, as they know they have a long way to go and a lot of room for improvement. They also know they have a tough schedule ahead, as they will face the Los Angeles Rams, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Arizona Cardinals in their next three games, all within their division.
“We’re happy with where we are, but we’re not complacent. We know we have a lot of work to do and a lot of challenges ahead,” Shanahan said. “We have a lot of respect for our division rivals. They’re all very good teams. We have to be ready for them. We have to keep getting better every week. We have to keep playing as a team. That’s what we’ve been doing so far, and that’s what we have to keep doing.”