49ers hang on for 23-17 wild-card playoff victory over Cowboys

49ers hang on for 23-17 wild-card playoff victory over Cowboys

Deebo Samuel and the San Francisco 49ers have started another playoff run after hanging on in a frantic wild-card finish against Dallas.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will have to keep waiting for that elusive deep trip in the postseason.

San Francisco’s versatile receiver ran 26 yards for a touchdown the play after an interception by Prescott, and the 49ers held on for a 23-17 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.

The Cowboys had a final chance with 32 seconds remaining and were at the San Francisco 41 with 14 seconds to go when Prescott took off up the middle intending to slide and spike the ball for a final play.

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But Dallas didn’t get the snap off from the 24 until after the clock hit 0:00. After a brief delay, referee Alex Kemp announced the game was over.

The 49ers overcame an interception by Jimmy Garoppolo when they led by 13 in the fourth quarter. Prescott ran for a touchdown to get within a score, and had a chance to drive Dallas to a go-ahead score. But the 49ers got a stop at midfield when Prescott’s desperation fourth-down pass was just out of the receiver Cedrick Wilson’s reach.

After a 14th penalty from the NFL’s most-penalized team in the regular season that helped San Francisco run out most of the clock — and the frantic final seconds as Dallas tried for the win — the 49ers (11-7) clinched their first playoff victory at the Cowboys in a storied postseason rivalry.

Now they head to Green Bay for a divisional game, looking for another trip to the NFC championship game.

“It was like the whole day, it really was,” Garoppolo said of the final sequence. “It was a dogfight, hell of an atmosphere out here. I mean, the fans were nuts. It was everything we thought it was going to be. It was fun.”

The wait for Dallas (12-6) to get that far in the playoffs will reach at least 27 years after another first-game flameout in the postseason for Prescott, the second in three trips over six seasons for the star quarterback. It was his first playoff game since signing a $40-million-a-year contract in the offseason.

San Francisco scored on its first four possessions, but three times settled for field goals from Robbie Gould to help keep the Cowboys close.

San Francisco rookie Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and the game’s first points on a 4-yard run. Samuel had 72 yards on 10 carries and three catches for 38 yards.

As was the case most of the season, Dallas couldn’t get the running game going with Ezekiel Elliott. The two-time rushing champion had 31 yards on 12 carries as the Cowboys were outgained 169-77 on the ground.

Prescott was 23 of 43 for 254 yards. Garoppolo, who doesn’t know when his last game with the 49ers will be with rookie Trey Lance waiting his turn, was 16 of 25 for 172 yards.

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