Tony Avelar San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
San Francisco 49ers advance to Championship tie as Super Bowl battle heats up
The 49ers will take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship.

THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ers beat the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 on Sunday to head to the NFC title contest to face the Philadelphia Eagles for a place in the NFL’s Super Bowl.

The Cowboys’ 27 year wait for a return to the Super Bowl continues after they once gain failed to get past the divisional round.

Dallas have lost on each of the last seven occasions they have reached the divisional round and in a gruelling game, dominated by the defenses, they were hampered by losing their lead running-back Tony Pollard with an ankle injury in the second quarter.

After San Francisco opened the scoring with a field goal, Dallas responded with a second quarter four-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott to Dalton Schultz.

But troubled kicker Brett Maher missed the extra-point conversion — the sixth miss in his last seven kicks — and two interceptions from Prescott before the half didn’t help.

Robbie Gould had no such problems, converting from 47-yards and 50-yards before half-time to give the 49ers a 9-6 lead at the break.

Maher’s relief was evident after he was successful with his field goal attempt from 25 yards in the third quarter.

But San Francisco, led by rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, then produced the best drive of the game with George Kittle juggling the ball to complete a crucial 29 yard catch before the series ended with Christian McCaffrey’s two-yard burst into the end-zone.

Down seven points, Dallas came up against an impressive San Francisco defense, living up to their ranking as the league’s number one.

Maher struck a 43-yard effort between the sticks but with Gould responding and the 49ers not offering Cowboys any gifts, Dallas were left with 45 seconds to try and conjure up a miracle that didn’t materialise.

Purdy, a seventh round draft pick, didn’t throw a touchdown but nor did he throw an interception as he threw for 214 yards completing 19 of 29 passes and notched up his seventh straight win since being thrust into the starting role.

“He’s playing at a high level,” Kittle said of his quarterback. “Getting our best players the ball. He’s awesome and confident in the huddle. He’s just doing a great job.”

– © AFP 2023

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