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NFL

NFC Divisional Round Review: Winners, losers, upsets, surprises and takeaways

Here is a rundown of who advanced and who was eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs for the NFC title. Jalen Hurts vs 49ers.

Update:
Here is a rundown of who advanced and who was eliminated in the divisional round of the playoffs for the NFC title. Jalen Hurts vs 49ers.
LACHLAN CUNNINGHAMAFP

Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys struggle in the divisional round after winning a playoff game away from home for the first time in 30 years.

Last week was Prescott’s best. He threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another to help the Dallas Cowboys beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-14. He made the Cowboys so dominating that Dallas kicker Brett Maher missed four extra straight points, and Tom Brady led the opposing team as quarterback.

Sunday brought lows. Prescott struggled against the 49ers. Dak had 206 yards and a touchdown, but he also had two devastating first-half interceptions and might have had more turnovers on sloppy throws. One interception led to a 49ers field goal, while the other started a long drive that resulted in a field goal. They effectively decided the game.

Dallas Cowboys 12–19 San Francisco 49ers

Dallas trailed by seven points on its 24-yard line. Then, the Cowboys startled everyone by starting with no offensive linemen, and running back Ezekiel Elliott lined up to pass to quarterback Dak Prescott.

After the ball was snapped, the action stopped with a huge thud. The Cowboys’ season ended after falling 19-12 to the second-seeded 49ers, who will face the Eagles on Sunday.

The 49ers’ steady but solid and easy football

Brock Purdy understood he had no options as he rolled left. George Kittle snagged a Purdy throw while juggling on a last-second breakaway run to start San Francisco’s only touchdown drive. The 49ers’ suffocating defense allowed just one major play, sending them to the NFC title game for the second year in a row.

Sunday’s win against the Dallas Cowboys came after Christian McCaffrey’s 2-yard run capped the drive.

“Man, we’re just pleased that we won,” Purdy, the 49ers’ undefeated rookie quarterback, said after the game. Everyone tried. Football’s postseason is never easy.

After two second-half touchdown drives exhausted the Cowboys (13-6), the 49ers (15-4) had won 12 straight. San Francisco will play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Super Bowl Sunday after losing to the Rams in last year’s NFC championship game.

Daniel Jones can be special

New York Giants 7 - 38 Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants’ season-long defiance should be lauded. With a first-year head coach and a squad in need of a rebuild, the club showed innovation and a desire to make the playoffs and win a game.

The Giants are hurting after losing 38-7 to the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the divisional round. In his first year as general manager, Joe Schoen must make several personnel choices, but none more critical than quarterback Daniel Jones.

Coach Brian Daboll redesigned the playbook to highlight Jones’s talents. Thus adding pass-catchers should improve the offense. Jones finished fourth among passers with 120 rushes, nearly twice his total from the previous season.

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles with an easy win, as expected

After sweeping the Giants in the regular season, including a 48-22 beatdown in Week 14, the Eagles destroyed them in the playoffs. Jalen Hurts’ 40-yard pass to DeVonta Smith on the opening drive helped Philadelphia win (268 running yards to the Giants’ 118). The Eagles led 28-0 at halftime and never looked back.

Jalen Hurts vs a ferocious 49ers

Football is a team sport. Not one player can win alone, but often pundits and experts throw away this notion by singling out players and giving them the halo of angels of their teams. But for the 49ers, this doesn’t seem to be the Case. Yes, they have a strong Deebo Samuel who seems like he can’t be caught, but the reality is that while the Eagles will rely more on the magic that Jalen Hurts can deliver, and in return, San Francisco will have a whole team that can produce solid football.

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