49ers vs. Cowboys: 5 biggest takeaways from Wild Card win

San Francisco 49ers defensive back Dontae Johnson (27) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Dontae Johnson (27) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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49ers, Deebo Samuel
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

42. 17. 123. Final. 23

The San Francisco 49ers made just enough plays early to survive an advance amid an interesting comeback attempt against the Dallas Cowboys

Sweating out games until the very end is what these San Francisco 49ers do. Last Sunday was no different in the Wild Card round of the NFL playoffs, as time ran out on the Dallas Cowboys as they fell to the Niners 23-17.

The first half was a dominant team performance from all three phases, as the Niners went to the half leading 16-7. The Cowboys were not going to end their season without a fight, though, and clawed back late, with help from a bone-headed Jimmy Garoppolo interception.

Give credit to San Francisco for shutting down a deadly offense and preventing an opportunistic defense from causing much havoc.

Winning on the road in the playoffs is never easy, and the 49ers had key moments that allowed them to move on to the divisional round.

Here are the biggest takeaways from their victory:

No. 1: 49ers running game is opening up the offense

Elijah Mitchell has solidified the running game of the 49ers and allowed head coach Kyle Shanahan the ability to choose a running play almost any down and distance. Without Mitchell in the lineup, Deebo Samuel would not be as effective of a weapon as he has been.

The Niners averaged 4.4 yards per carry and finished with 169 yards total rushing yards against the Cowboys. Dallas knew what San Francisco wanted to establish but couldn’t slow the Niners enough to take control of the game.

The play-action game is a staple in the Shanahan playbook, and it wouldn’t be as effective without a dominant running game. When Garoppolo fakes a handoff and rolls out to his left, he has a myriad of options.

As long as the 49ers can run the ball 30 to 40 times, they will continue to have success on offense and put points on the board.