Sports

49ers hold off late push to eliminate Cowboys


Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and a touchdown and the San Francisco 49ers’ defense overcame the loss of star defensive end Nick Bosa to hold the Dallas Cowboys in check during a 23-17 win in the NFC wild-card round in Arlington, Texas, on Sunday.

The contest came between wins by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs in other playoff action.

Jimmy Garoppolo completed 16 of 25 passes for 172 yards, with an interception, for the sixth-seeded 49ers, who will travel to top-seeded Green Bay next weekend to play in the NFC divisional round. San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel added 110 yards from scrimmage, including 72 on the ground, and a touchdown.

“Guys (stepped) up big in big key situations,” Garoppolo said. “That’s really what it was all day. Early on, we got it rolling with the offense and the defense (delivered) throughout the entire day. We got some dogs on our defense.”

Samuel’s 26-yard scoring run, one play after Dak Prescott was intercepted by K’Waun Williams, gave San Francisco a 23-7 advantage with 5:50 left in the third quarter.

Greg Zuerlein’s 51-yard field goal and Prescott’s 5-yard touchdown run pulled the third-seeded Cowboys within six points with 8:02 left. But Dallas’ last chance ended when Prescott ran 17 yards up the middle to the 49ers’ 24-yard line and could not spike the ball to stop the clock before time expired with Dallas out of timeouts.

Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said officials told him they were reviewing the play and could put time back on the clock.

“The next thing I know, they’re running off the field,” McCarthy said.

Bosa didn’t play in the second half due to a concussion, but San Francisco still held Dallas to 307 total yards and sacked Prescott five times. Prescott completed just 23 of 43 passes for 254 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Dallas hurt its cause with 14 penalties for 89 yards. Four of them gave the 49ers first downs.

“This is going to sting for a really long time,” McCarthy said. “But I’m damn proud of Dak Prescott and super happy he’s our quarterback.”

San Francisco started the scoring on the game’s first possession, marching 75 yards in just seven plays. Mitchell stepped into the end zone from the 4 on a toss sweep, slicing just inside the front right pylon at the 10:54 mark.

Gould increased the lead to 10-0 on the 49ers’ second drive, drilling a 53-yard field goal with 4:56 left in the first quarter. Gould connected from 40 yards out with 9:40 remaining in the first half, capping a drive of nearly eight minutes to make it 13-0.

Dallas finally got some traction on the next possession, going 67 yards in nine plays to get on the board. Prescott hooked up with Amari Cooper for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 5:19 on the clock to cut the deficit to 13-7.

Gould sent San Francisco into the locker room with a 16-7 lead after converting from 52 yards out with 3:03 left.

In Tampa, seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady delivered a clinical performance as the defending NFL champion Buccaneers romped past the Philadelphia Eagles 31-15 at Raymond James Stadium.

Brady threw for 271 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

“We did some good things,” Brady said. “I think we’re just going to have to keep doing what we did today. It only gets tougher from here.” The second-seeded Buccaneers, who will face either the Los Angeles Rams or Arizona Cardinals at home in next weekend’s divisional round, dominated the Eagles throughout.

Although Philadelphia finally got on the board with two fourth quarter touchdowns from Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell, the final scoreline flattered the Eagles, who were outplayed and trailed 31-0 heading into fourth quarter.

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