Because we know the Cowboys only win this game if it's defense dictates to the 49'ers offense. Sure, Dak is a whole other element and can lose the game if the 49'ers can foil him as they did last time. But Quinn could be the biggest factor.
Brock Purdy has started 12 games in the NFL counting last year's playoffs. He has only lost once, the Philly NFC Title Game after they knocked him out, knocked out his backup and he came back in with a bad elbow. Healthy, he is 11-0 right now. He has the league's top QBR rating at 84.5. (Sure helps to have a tough defense and 153 yards average on the ground...).
That is Cinderella territory and he is probably just plain due for a bad game. More importantly, DC's now have a book of NFL games to decipher his tendencies. If Cowboys fans have confidence in one thing, it's Dan Quinn. So I think he goes into this game with tendencies identified and wrinkles that Purdy has not seen.
We know Purdy has to have that run support and the 49'ers will plan on the Cowboys loading the box. So they will probably throw early. The Cowboys need to stay balanced on early downs and we'll need to see Parsons, Lawrence, Sam Williams, et al make an early impact pressuring Purdy.
If the 49'ers don't get an early gash play throwing the ball, they will revert to form and then the Cowboys can start keying run and getting Purdy into long downs. Put their offense on his back, and then Dak has to do his part and play low-mistake football.
I thought Jake Ferguson had his best game yesterday, and that could really help as the 49'ers try to take Lamb away as an option. Turpin had that long gain on the jet sweep before he fumbled, and it's good to see McCarthy trying to implement his speed. Also Dak has not run much this year so the 49'ers will not coach to that, so call a few of those.
Russ_Te_ is the Cowboys screen name for Roy Greenfield / site author of the mid-2000's board "Cowboy Saloon"
- where the bar fights were legendary...