After a dominant win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night, the Dallas Cowboys turn their attention to the Divisional Round of the playoffs where they will travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers. San Francisco is one of the best teams in football on both sides of the ball, and currently has the best odds (+450) of any NFC team to win the Super Bowl, via DraftKings Sportsbook.
Today we take a look at the 49ers’ offense and give you three things to know about the unit before the two teams square off on Sunday.
1) Mr. Irrelevant turned Mr. Relevant
Brock Purdy’s rise to fame has been one of the craziest storylines in recent NFL history. Purdy, who was 2022’s Mr. Irrelevant after being selected with the final pick of last year’s NFL draft, has taken the football world by storm and led his team to the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Since taking over after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending injury back in Week 13, Purdy has a 6-0 record as a starter and just won his first playoff game last Saturday against the Seattle Seahawks. On the year, Purdy has completed 67% of his throws and registered 14 touchdown passes, throwing two or more in eight straight games.
If you include his playoff performance from last weekend against Seattle, Purdy ranks second in the league in EPA+CPOE (0.154) and EPA/Play (0.281) since Week 13, showing just how good the rookie signal-caller has been. Purdy has been on fire of late, and slowing him down on Sunday will be no easy task for the Dallas defense.
2) A stellar mid-season acquisition
When the 49ers traded for Christian McCaffrey back in October, it completely changed the trajectory of their season. Before the trade, San Francisco was 3-3 and seemed to have a strong chance of missing the playoffs. However, since the deal for McCaffrey, the script has completely flipped. The 49ers are currently sporting the league’s longest winning streak, winning 11 in a row (including playoffs), making them 11-1 since McCaffrey came over.
Individually, McCaffrey has been a huge difference-maker for the 49ers’ offense since the trade, totaling 1,210 yards from scrimmage (746 rushing, 464 receiving) during his 11 regular season games as a 49er. The former first-round pick played arguably his best game of the season last Saturday in the Wild Card Round against the Seahawks, rushing for 119 yards on 15 attempts (7.93 Y/A) and scoring two touchdowns.
McCaffrey’s arrival played a big part in reviving the San Francisco offense, and the team is second in offensive EPA (0.152) and third in Rush EPA (0.032) since they made the deal.
3) A deadly receiving trio
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Christian McCaffrey isn’t the only impressive weapon the 49ers have at their disposal on offense. McCaffrey is complemented by the trio of George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk, all three of which are Pro Bowl-level talents,
- Brandon Aiyuk - 78 receptions, 1,015 yards, 13.0 Y/R, 8 TDs (17 Games)
- George Kittle - 60 receptions, 765 yards, 12.8 Y/R, 11 TDs, (15 Games)
- Deebo Samuel - 56 receptions, 632 yards, 11.3 Y/R, 42 rushes, 232 yards, 5 total TDs (13 Games)
Aiyuk, Kittle, and Samuel all can beat you in different ways, and all three create different problems for your defense. Samuel is the most versatile, and arguably the most dangerous, of the trio. Aiyuk and Kittle both have been outstanding at finding the end zone this season, registering a combined 19 touchdowns on the year. When the 49ers are in the red zone, Dallas will have to lock in on stopping the duo.