Led by George Kittle and stout defense, 49ers bully Cowboys to stay unbeaten

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones strolled the pristine grass of Levi’s Stadium during warm-ups, getting an up-close at how his team prepared before their heavyweight matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

Jones leaned in for a hug with quarterback Dak Prescott, sharing a few words of wisdom before eventually leaving the field and heading upstairs to his suite. 

Jones had hoped Sunday’s prime-time matchup would be a measuring stick for a Dallas squad expected to make a deep postseason run. Instead, the Cowboys proved no match going up against the NFL’s elite, as the 49ers hammered the Cowboys 42-10 in a nationally televised Sunday night contest.

Considered one of the best defenses in the NFL, Dallas had given up just 41 total points through four games but allowed 42 against San Francisco. The 49ers scored at least 30 points for the eighth time during the regular season, dating back to last year. 

“As soon as the offense went down on that first drive and scored, I was like, ‘We got ‘em,'” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said. “The way that they’re operating right now is unbelievable. I’ve been a part of a lot of good teams since I’ve been here, but the way the offense is playing is unlike anything that I’ve seen.”

San Francisco remained unbeaten at 5-0 with the victory and sits atop the NFC along with the unbeaten Philadelphia Eagles — the two teams that met in the NFC Championship Game last season. They are scheduled to meet again in Week 13 in Philadelphia.

The Cowboys dropped to 3-2 with the loss. 

The 49ers dominated from the opening kickoff, methodically driving 75 yards on seven plays capped by a 19-yard touchdown from Brock Purdy to security-blanked tight end George Kittle on a crossing route. Purdy was 4-for-4 for 43 yards on the drive, which was helped by two Dallas defensive penalties.

Kittle had no touchdowns through four games but totaled three scores against Dallas on 67 receiving yards. Kittle also scored on a 38-yard flea flicker from Purdy in the second quarter, and a 10-yard TD on a seam route in the third quarter that essentially put the game away. 

Purdy and Kittle have combined for 10 touchdowns since the Iowa State product took over as the starter in Week 14 of last season, the most by a quarterback-pass catcher tandem during that time frame. 

“Brock is just so consistent every single day,” Kittle said. “He’s the same guy on Wednesday as he is on Sunday. He’s super detailed. He’s super confident. He’s everything that you want in a quarterback, and he’s just playing at such a high level right now.”

Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense couldn’t get anything going against San Francisco’s dominant defense. The 49ers held the Cowboys’ offense to 93 total yards in the first half and 197 yards for the game.

San Francisco forced four turnovers, Warner punching the ball from running back Tony Pollard in the first half and three Prescott interceptions by Tashaun Gibson, Oren Burks and Warner in the second half.  San Francisco sacked Prescott four times.

San Francisco defensive coordinator Steve Wilks played more man defense against Dallas than the previous four games, forcing the Cowboys to beat them down the field. 

The Cowboys connected for a couple explosive plays, including Kavante Turpin beating San Francisco slot defender Isaiah Oliver on a corner route for a 26-yard touchdown. The score was Turpin’s first career receiving touchdown.

However, the Cowboys could not do that consistently.

“For our D-line to get pulled five minutes before the end of the third quarter against a team like that shows that we’re kind of on a different level this year,” 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said.

Purdy had another clean game for San Francisco. He finished 17 of 24 for 252 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions for a 144.4 passer rating.

Purdy has now won his 10th regular-season start, becoming the third quarterback since 1970 to win each of his first 10 career starts, joining Ben Roethlisberger (15 consecutive wins to start his career) and Mike Tomczak (10).  

San Francisco receiver Brandon Aiyuk played well on the perimeter, finishing with four catches for 58 yards.  Christian McCaffrey totaled 51 rushing yards on 19 carries and a score and added another 27 receiving yards.  

McCaffrey’s touchdown was his 14th straight during the regular season dating back to last season. Fellow running back Jordan Mason totaled 69 rushing yards and a score. 

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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