Not even their favorite – and highly visible – sports bettor proved to give the Dallas Cowboys enough support on Sunday. As they met the San Francisco 49ers in an NFC divisional game, the Boys ultimately found no path that would take them to the conference final or Super Bowl LVII.
The Niners eliminated the Cowboys 19-12 to advance to the NFC title game for the third time in four years. It’s going to be a tough contest, as they face the Philadelphia Eagles, the leading team in the conference.
Mattress Mack was up to his old tricks before the game, but he wasn’t able to find success in the sportsbooks. He had put up $2 million that the Boys, underdogs heading into the contest, would beat the Niners, although losing high-priced sports wagers isn’t uncommon for him.
Brock Purdy No Longer Irrelevant
No one should continue to tag Brock Purdy as Mr. Irrelevant. The rookie could soon become the fourth quarterback selected in the sixth round of the NFL Draft to win a Conference Championship in his first season.
Dieter Brock did it in 1985, Kurt Warner followed 14 years later and Tom Brady joined the exclusive club in 2001. On the flip side, the Cowboys now have the unique distinction of having the longest streak of playoff appearances without a trip to the conference title game. They’ve racked up 12 Divisional Round visits without making it further.
Although Purdy played well on Sunday, the reason San Fran won is because of their defense. The Niners forced two interceptions from Dak Prescott as they continued to pressure the offense play after play.
However, the Niners offense had difficulty capitalizing on the turnovers. They had to settle for field goals off each, but it was enough to keep San Fran in the lead.
Dallas had to work at a disadvantage in the second half of the game, which didn’t help. Running back Tony Pollard suffered a game-ending injury in the first half that sidelined him, and the Boys could only muster a field goal in each of the last two quarters of the game.
The field goal was a lucky one. Kicker Brett Maher, after giving up four extra points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Wild Card game, continues to have trouble. He missed his first extra point of Sunday’s game, leading to Texas Governor Greg Abbott raking him over the coals on Twitter.
Time For A Rematch
San Fran now hopes to make it to the Super Bowl for the second time in four seasons. To do that, though, they’ll have to overcome the Eagles and QB Jalen Hurts.
The game is taking place at Lincoln Financial Field, Philly’s home turf. The last time these two met there, in September 2021, the Eagles took a 17-11 victory.
The Eagles go into the game as the favorites, but not by a huge margin. The books have the lines at around -135 to +115.
Purdy, who is now 7-0 when starting, and running back Christian McCaffrey are turning out to be key assets for the Niners. Philly gets the advantage because of their consistency this season, but San Fran has been on a wild streak as the season progressed and can’t be easily dismissed.
Bengals Dominate In The Snow
It was freezing in Buffalo on Sunday, but Joe Burrow was on fire in this AFC Division game. The QB threw two touchdown passes for the Cincinnati Bengals as they had a seemingly easy day against the Buffalo Bills.
On a snow-covered field, Burrow got the Bengals off to a great start with back-to-back TDs on their first two series. By the end of the first half, they were already up 17-7 and ultimately won 27-10.
While Burrow was resting on the sidelines, the defense was beating down the Bills offense. It never made any progress, and the only TD the team scored came from QB Josh Allen. He also led the team in rushing yards, picking up 26 on eight carries.
The Bengals had to settle for a field goal after this was ruled to *not* be a Ja'Marr Chase touchdown after review.
17-7 Cincinnati. pic.twitter.com/SFYtKjyrqi
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 22, 2023
Not even a questionable call by the refs helped the Bills. The officiating crew reversed a potential TD catch by Ja’Marr Chase that will keep the debate over what constitutes a catch alive for a few more years.
It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the Bills, playing in front of safety Damar Hamlin, showed any real signs of life. Allen finally found his stride and connected with wide receiver Stefon Diggs on big plays, but it was too little too late.
The Pro Bowler has been responsible for much of the team’s success this season, and he made it clear after the game that Allen was responsible for the loss.
The Kansas City Chiefs took down the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday and will now face the Bengals. They’re going in as the -120 favorites in what should be a monster of a game to watch. With a little luck, the referees will do a better job of making consistent calls.
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