The San Francisco 49ers caused a sensation on Sunday, eliminating the Dallas Cowboys (23-17) in the first round of the play-offs, when they were ranked only No. 6 out of the seven qualified teams in the National Conference. Dallas, No. 3, was also playing at home.
The Californians were in the lead from the first minutes of the match, thanks to a touchdown from runner Elijah Mitchell, and, in the third quarter, they led 23-7, after a TD from Deebo Samuel and three field goals from Robbie Gould. .
Dallas squanders two chances late in the game
Dallas then made its comeback and, eight minutes from time, the Cowboys had reduced the score to 23-17. Twice they had the chance to score the touchdown that would have qualified them. But receiver Cedrick Wilson first slipped and then let the ball slip away.
Then, in the final seconds, Dak Prescott, the Dallas quarterback, made a run rather than attempt a pass, suddenly letting the clock tick. There was then too little time for the Cowboys to continue their progress on the field.
As had already been the case in 2007, 2014 and 2016, the Texas franchise had a very good regular season, but was quickly eliminated in the play-offs. The only downside for San Francisco: defensive end Nick Bosa suffered a concussion in the first period and had to be replaced.
404 yards and five TD’s for Mahomes
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs, winners and finalists of the last Super Bowl, qualified, without surprise and easily. Tampa Bay outscored the Philadelphia Eagles (31-15), after leading 31-0 late in the third quarter. Tom Brady threw 271 yards and two TD’s (for Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski).
For its part, Kansas City beat the Pittsburgh Steelers (42-21). After a first quarter without a single point, the Chiefs first conceded a touchdown from TJ Watt, Pittsburgh’s star defender, on a return fumble. Then they led up to 35-7, carried by 404 yards and five touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes.
The table of play-offs (2nd round)
National Conference :
Green Bay Packers (n°1) – San Francisco 49ers (n°6): Sunday January 23 (2h15, French time)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (No. 2) – Los Angeles Rams or Arizona Cardinals (who face each other on Monday): Sunday 23 (9:00 p.m.)
American Conference :
Tennessee Titans (n°1) – Cincinnati Bengals (n°4) : samedi 22 janvier (22h30)
Kansas City Chiefs (No. 2) – Buffalo Bills (No. 3): Monday, January 24 (0:30 a.m.)