The 49ers had to rely on some shoddy Cowboys play and a little luck, but there are still key reasons why the Niners emerged victorious in the Wild Card game.
Most San Francisco 49ers fans would probably be perfectly happy if the Niners wind up having an “easy” win at some point during the postseason.
And after San Francisco managed to survive some sloppy play of its own and a desperate surge by the Dallas Cowboys in the Wild Card round at AT&T Stadium on Sunday, those same fans probably deserve it.
The 49ers nevertheless manage to hang on, though, winning a thrilling yet nerve-wracking 23-17 victory that had its eye-raising moments, scary incidents and odd occurrences throughout.
Those all played a major factor, too, leading us to break down specifically why the Niners managed to win this round of the NFL playoffs in order to advance into the divisional round of the postseason.
No. 5: 49ers kept Jimmy Garoppolo clean all game
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t exactly a prime reason why San Francisco pulled off the victory, and going 16-of-25 for 172 yards with no touchdowns and an interception, one might argue Garoppolo could have been a reason why the 49ers lost, had they done so.
But a key element behind the Niners’ victory was the fact the offensive line and extra blockers did an extra job keeping Garoppolo upright, holding off a vaunted Dallas pass rush and keeping this unit from registering a single sack over the course of the game.
Garoppolo was only hit four times, too.
The Cowboys finished the regular season with a whopping 68 sacks, third most in the league. So for San Francisco to hold Dallas’ defensive standouts like linebacker Micah Parsons and EDGE Randy Gregory from getting to Garoppolo and influencing that part of the game is commendable.
The margin of victory for the 49ers was so thin, perhaps only one sack could have been a back-breaking difference-maker.