Cowboys tie NFL playoff record as penalties prove costly in loss to 49ers

The Cowboys certainly didn’t do themselves any favors in Sunday’s playoff game against the 49ers.

Dallas led the regular season in penalties and continued that trend against San Francisco as they tied a playoff record for the most penalties in a postseason game. The Cowboys were penalized with 14 penalties, totaling 89 yards. While the 49ers were far from clean, calling nine penalties and 58 yards, Dallas’ penalties frequently came at crucial points in the game, either wiping out big plays from the offense or giving San Francisco another chance.

For a team that was marred by penalties all season (127 penalties offensive, 121 defensive), the consistent mistakes stung in a 23-17 wild-card round loss at home to San Francisco.

Several of the penalties wiped out big Cowboys plays or allowed San Francisco a chance to keep the drives alive and get big yards, and they were especially costly late. Sporting News looks at several that were detrimental to Dallas on Sunday.

The Most Expensive Cowboy Penalties

Randy Gregory’s fourth quarter tenure

There were few penalties that stood out more than the one committed by defensive end Randy Gregory.

On San Francisco’s final drive of the game, needing only to wind down the clock to end the game, Deebo Samuel made a handoff and shot out to the left. The Cowboys were able to stop him and keep him winless and generate a crucial third-and-9 at the San Francisco 48. Behind Samuel’s run, however, Gregory tackled offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill, who was trying to get to the box. play and block for the runner.

Gregory was flagged for holding, giving San Francisco an automatic first down and moving them to the Dallas 47-yard line.

The first down allowed San Francisco to run several more plays, forcing Dallas to burn the rest of their timeouts, which would have been crucial when the team got the ball back before the end of the game.

Neville Gallimore illegal use of hands in the fourth quarter

The 49ers offense came alive again and the opportunity to continue to run out the clock due to a penalty.

San Francisco took possession with eight minutes remaining after Dallas led the game to 23-17, making it a one-touchdown game in the fourth quarter. The 49ers came up with two first downs on the drive to drain more than three minutes off the clock, but the drive seemed about to grind to a halt when they faced a third-and-12 from their own 37-yard line. Jimmy Garoppolo fired a pass up the middle. to Samuel, but the pass was well defended, and fell incomplete.

At the line of scrimmage, however, defensive tackle Neville Gallimore was called for illegal use of his hands to his face after nearly knocking off center Alex Mack’s helmet with 4:31 remaining. He gave the 49ers a first down and drove them five yards. After the penalty, San Francisco kept the clock ticking until they were forced to punt with 2:51 remaining.

It was already the second penalty in the series that gave the 49ers a first down, but the previous one came on first down and still only went for an extra five yards.

Game delay in Dallas fourth quarter

The Cowboys had just reached into their bag of tricks and pulled off a perfect fake punt to keep a drive alive early in the fourth quarter.

Dallas faced a fourth-and-5 from its own 48-yard line with 14:01 remaining and sent in the punt. Kicker Bryan Anger threw a perfect pass to cornerback CJ Goodwin, who made his first career catch for a 16-36 San Francisco win. With Dallas down 23-7, it felt like the spark the team needed to get back in the game. .

What followed was inexplicable. The Cowboys kept their punt unit on the field to confuse San Francisco’s defense. With about 16 seconds left, the Cowboys finally switched the offense, forcing the 49ers to send in their defense. The official did not allow Dallas to break the ball as San Francisco needed time to complete their substitutions, per rule, and when the official finally stepped back, the Cowboys were called to delay the game.

While the penalty was controversial, with some speculating as to why the referee waited so long to allow the Cowboys to break the ball, it was a strange decision by Dallas to leave their punt unit on the field for so long instead of bringing the offense. out of.

Following the game’s delay, the Dallas forward moved just eight more yards and was forced to settle for a 51-yard field goal.