The Dallas Cowboys dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was certainly inspiring for ‘Boys fans. But Dallas faces a far tougher opponent in the Divisional Round on Sunday.
The San Francisco 49ers are on an 11-game win streak dating back to Week 8, and have won those matchups by an average of 14 points per game.
The Cowboys will need to be sharp to take down the 49ers, and it all starts with rattling San Francisco’s rookie QB Brock Purdy. Here’s a look into Purdy’s impressive stretch of games, plus what Dallas can do to end that streak:
Breaking down Brock Purdy’s game
Purdy isn’t your prototypical first-year QB. He was taken with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. Few players selected in the seventh round have gone on to have successful careers.
Here are Purdy’s game by game stat lines since taking over as the 49ers starter in Week 13:
- Week 13: 25/37 for 210 yards, two TDs, one INT
- Week 14: 16/21 for 185 yards, two TDs
- Week 15: 17/26 for 217 yards, two TDs
- Week 16: 15/22 for 234 yards, two TDs, one INT
- Week 17: 22/35 for 284 yards, two TDs, one INT
- Week 18: 15/20 for 178 yards, three TDs
- Wild Card: 18/30, 332 yards, three TDs
The most impressive stat from Purdy through this seven game stretch is that he has yet to throw for less than two touchdowns in a game.
But Purdy has benefited greatly from playing in a star-studded offense. You’ve got:
- Christian McCaffrey: one-time All-Pro, one-time Pro Bowler
- Deebo Samuel: one-time All-Pro, one-time Pro Bowler
- George Kittle: one-time All-Pro, four-time Pro Bowler
- Trent Williams: two-time All-Pro, 10-time Pro Bowler
- Kyle Juszczyk: seven-time Pro Bowler
- Brandon Aiyuk: 1,015 receiving yards and eight TDs in 2022
It’s impossible to find a more favorable team for a rookie QB to be on.
What the Cowboys must do to limit Purdy
The Cowboys game plan against Purdy should be simple: make him uncomfortable.
49ers head coach Mike Shanahan has made life easy for his 23-year-old QB. San Francisco’s playcalls have a lot of pre-snap motion designed to disguise a passing play as a running play. Having ball carriers as talented as McCaffrey and Samuel forces defenses to respect the 49ers rushing attack.
So it’s up to the Cowboys defense to communicate and snuff out these motions, as well as play action calls. If they can do so, it’s sure to throw a wrench in San Francisco’s offensive game plan.
Force Purdy to mount a comeback
One interesting note about Purdy’s seven game run as a starter is the lack of times he’s had to mount a comeback. The 49ers have trailed an opponent in four games with Brock under center.
The most he’s been down by is 10 points vs. the Las Vegas Raiders. This stat shouldn’t be surprising considering how dominant San Francisco is on both sides of the ball. But it shows we have yet to see how Purdy would respond to mounting a large comeback.
It’s ideal in any game to go up by 10+ points, but jumping out to an early lead could be particularly crucial on Sunday for the Cowboys.