The Dallas Cowboys turned four San Francisco turnovers into 24 points and did enough the rest of the game to earn a 41-33 victory over the 49ers in Week 15 of the 2020 season. The win moved the Cowboys to 5-9 for the year and kept their slim playoff hopes alive.
The 49ers had two fumbles early in the game to set the Cowboys up for touchdowns and a 14-0 lead. They fought back to make it 17-14 at halftime, but interceptions by Donovan Wilson and Anthony Brown in the second half helped Dallas pull away.
The Cowboys went into the game with the surprise that Ezekiel Elliott would not be playing due to a lingering calf injury. Tony Pollard struggled on the ground most of the day until breaking loose for a 40-yard touchdown run in the 4th Quarter that gave Dallas a comfortable lead. It was his second rushing TD of the game in addition to 63 yards receiving.
Andy Dalton had a solid outing with 209 yards and two touchdowns despite facing heavy pressure throughout the day. He didn't turn the ball over and that proved to be the difference maker compared to two picks and a fumble from Niners QB Nick Mullens.
Still, the Cowboys weak defense helped keep San Francisco in the game. They allowed 150 rushing and over 300 yards passing as the 49ers kept fighting to overcome the giveaways.
Donovan Wilson gave up an early touchdown pass but otherwise was making some big plays at safety. It was also another standout day for DeMarcus Lawrence with a sack and forced fumble, plus many strong plays against the run.
The biggest story though is that, despite their best efforts at times, the Dallas Cowboys are still in the fight for a spot in the postseason.
- CeeDee Lamb put a stamp on the win with his touchdown return of a 49ers onside kick attempt. He also had five catches for 85 yards on offense.
- Michael Gallup left the game with a hip injury and didn't return. On defense, Antwaun Woods and Xavier Woods both had to go out with their own injuries. Statuses for next week are unknown.
- Neville Gallimore had a nice day with some backfield disruptions and a deflected pass, and particularly one huge tackle during a goal-line stand. If he and Trysten Hill can build on their flashes from this year then Dallas may be be better off at DT in 2021 than we think.
- Rico Dowdle got a little more work on offense as the backup but only had four carries for 11 yards. However, he looked very good on kickoffs with a 29.3 average on three returns.
- Hunter Niswander continued strong work as the new punter with a 47.0 average and a couple that were stopped close to the goal line. It feels like the injured Chris Jones, a likely cap casualty in 2021 as it stood, has already lost his job.
- Washington lost today in Seattle, which along with the Dallas win keeps the Cowboys alive and a little closer to stealing the NFC East. They still need two more victories and for the Football Team to keep losing to make it a reality.