I don’t need to tell any Cowboys fan around here how disappointing that wild card game loss was to the 49ers last January. It was simply awful.
But nearly 7 months later, there are some things we could learn from that game if we want to take the next step and at least make an NFC championship game for the first time in 26 years. Here is a list of what that playoff taught us- have we made the right adjustments?
FIRST- SOME GAME FACTS- NINERS 23-COWBOYS 16
- The niners told us the week before the game they were going to run the ball down our throats. And they did exactly that, rushing for 169 yards.
- The niners had 341 total yards to 307 for the cowboys.
- The niners had 5 sacks; we had zero.
- The niners won TOP 34 minutes to 26 for Dallas. And that’s after we had the ball for most of the 4th qtr.
- In the niners first 7 possessions of the game, they scored 5 times and on their last possession of the first half, they even took a knee, leading 16-7.
- The Cowboys did not make a sack all game, and only had 4 pressures. Micah Parsons was consistently neutralized when rushing and D-Law was too. Randy Gregory had a few pressures but he had some stupid penalties too.
- The Cowboys OL got whipped all day. Tyron Smith had his worst game of the season and Connor Williams had his usual bad holding call at the worst time.
- For some reason Dak (or Kellen Moore) were choosing to not get the ball in the hands of their best playmakers.
So what can we learn from this?
- The trenches is where we got whipped and the biggest reason we lost that playoff game. IMO, It remains the biggest problem this team has. Not enough in the trenches on both sides of the ball.
- FOOTBALL 101: The team who wins the trenches usually wins- especially in the playoffs. You need skill position players too, but without the big guys on the line holding their own, you can’t win playoff games.
So here are some questions going into 2022 based on what last year should have taught us:
- Did we strengthen our OL and DL this off-season? Enough to avoid a repeat of what the niners did to us last January? Can we finally stop the run?
- Will our offense be able to get the ball to playmakers regardless of what the defense is doing? Dumping passes to Dalton Schultz all day won’t get it done. Can Kellen Moore get better? Can Dak consistently get the ball to his playmakers?
The answers to these questions will probably determine if this team does something more than what it’s done the last qtr century. We will start seeing soon.