BY DANIEL GLUSKOTER
Nine months after ending their season in an NFC semifinal playoff game for the second year in a row on the same field, the 49ers left no doubt of their superiority with a 42–10 beat down of the Dallas Cowboys at Levi’s Stadium Sunday night.
George Kittle caught three touchdown passes from Brock Purdy and the Niners defense forced three Dak Prescott interceptions as San Francisco notched their 15th consecutive regular season victory, dominating every aspect of the game against their long time rivals.
San Francisco jumped out quickly with a seven play, 75 yard drive in 3:50 culminating in a nine yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kittle in the right corner of the end zone, maintaining the 49ers record of scoring on the opening drive of each game this season. Later, in the closing seconds of the quarter Kevin Givens came up with a fumble recovery at the Dallas 16 yard line after Fred Warner knocked the football out of Tony Pollard‘s arms. The Niners were unable to capitalize, though, as Christian McCaffrey fumbled at the Dallas two yard line.
The Niners stretched their lead early in the second quarter on a 38 yard touchdown strike from Purdy to Kittle. Dallas finally got their initial first down of the game almost three minutes into the second quarter, eventually getting on the board following an 11 play, 78 yard drive that culminated with Prescott finding KaVontae Turpin on a 26 yard touchdown strike to cut the 49ers lead in half at 14-7.
San Francisco quickly responded with another 75 yard drive that finished with a one yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey, tying the second longest streak of a player scoring a touchdown in NFL history at 14 games to take a 21–7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Midway into the third quarter, a 43 yard pass play from Purdy to Deebo Samuel set up Kittle for his third touchdown of the game, a 10 yard strike down the middle three plays later to give the Niners a 28-10 lead.
A 12 play, 62 yard Niners drive followed with Purdy finding Kyle Juszczyk on the second play of the fourth quarter from one yard out for his career-high fourth touchdown pass of the game.
On the second play of the ensuing Cowboys drive, Fred Warner intercepted a Prescott pass and returned it 12 yards to the Dallas 26 yard line. On the next play, Jordan Mason broke free on a 26 yard touchdown run to further the Cowboys demoralization.
Purdy finished 17-24 for 252 yards while Kittle scored on all three of his receptions for 67 yards. Brandon Aiyuk had four catches for 58 yards. Mason finished with a career-high 69 yards on the ground on 10 carries while McCaffrey added 51.
The 49ers defense got to Prescott three times, with Nick Bosa, Dre Greenlaw and Warner all recording sacks and intercepting Prescott on three consecutive drives. Prescott finished a paltry 14-24 for 153 yards with the one score and three picks. The Cowboys punchless running game totaled 57 yards on 19 carries.
Following the game, Niners coach Kyle Shanahan happily commented “I was real excited about us this week. I knew it was our biggest game so far this year, as far as nationally and just media wise and the hype. Sometimes you get worried your team might get too up for stuff. But just watching them, they were so locked in all week. They didn’t make too big of a deal of this game. They seemed so ready to go and from a coaching perspective, we didn’t feel like we had to do much all week, but just coach them, show the film, put in a game plan and our guys were ready.”
After remaining the only undefeated team in the NFL along with the Philadelphia Eagles, the 49ers will now travel to Cleveland to play the Browns (2-2) next Sunday at 10AM.
The 32 point win was the largest margin of victory in the series and gave the Niners a 20–19 –1 lead head to head.
Fred Warner became the first 49er with a sack, interception and fumble recovery in the same game since Navarro Bowman in 2013.
Purdy improved to 10-0 as a starter in the regular season in his career, tying Kansas City Chiefs QB Mike Livingston and former Chicago Bears QB Mike Tomczak for the second most consecutive wins by a quarterback to begin a career in NFL history.
McCaffrey’s 14th consecutive games with a touchdown tied Emmitt Smith for the fourth longest streak in NFL history, trailing only John Riggins and O.J. Simpson (15) and Lenny Moore (17).
San Francisco has now won nine consecutive regular season games at Levi’s Stadium dating back to Week 10 of the 2022 season.
The 49ers have scored 30 or more points in each of the first five games of a season for the first time in franchise history. The Niners are also the are the first team in the NFL to score 30 or more points in eight consecutive regular season games since the 2012 Denver Broncos.