I was tempted to turn the Sunday Night Football game off when Cris Collinsworth said that the San Francisco 49ers “throw slants to the fullback,” after Kyle Juszczyk caught a seven-yard pass off of a slant route. Collinsworth, forcing me to listen to what I just saw, snapped me out of my trance. I thought that I was simply watching a typical 49ers’ performance. Yes, their 42-10 trouncing of the Dallas Cowboys was business as usual for them, but there is nothing standard about how the 49ers play football. Again, like Collinsworth said on the broadcast, their fullback runs slants.
Only a rash of injuries will stop the 49ers from winning a Super Bowl. The Cowboys entered Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season with two wins any team would have hung over the fireplace as a trophy. They had demolished the New York Giants and New England Patriots with defensive performances that could make a fantasy squad unbeatable.
The 49ers’ Week 5 win against the Cowboys turned out to be a fantasy gold mine for those who invested in their defense, Brock Purdy, George Kittle, and/or Christian McCaffrey. However, in real NFL football, the 49ers proved in throttling the Cowboys that they are the standard by which all NFL teams should be measured.
Outside of a hiccup to the Arizona Cardinals, the Cowboys had given up only 14 points the entire season. In that game, the Cowboys committed a high number of both turnovers and penalties. The 49ers faced stiff competition during their Week 2 win against the Los Angeles Rams, but only trailed in that game for less than two minutes in the first half.
Come January, injuries will be the deciding factor in which team has the best chance at winning a Super Bowl. That being said, if the 49ers have largely the same personnel on the field in winter that squashed the Cowboys, a Super Bowl Championship parade is headed to the Bay Area for the first time in nearly 30 years.
Against the Cowboys in Week 5, the 49ers showed little to no weaknesses. Even with Purdy missing some passes in the first half, the 49ers were up, 21-7, at intermission. The Cowboys put together a strong offensive drive coming out of halftime. Head coach Mike McCarthy was fine ending that drive with a successful field-goal attempt. The 49ers went on to score touchdowns on their next three possessions — two of which were the result of Cowboys turnovers.
On offense, the Cowboys’ skill position talent is not at the same level as the 49ers. Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, McCaffrey, and Kyle Shanahan’s playcalling, there is always a favorable matchup. Michael Gallup is healthier than he waslast season, Brandin Cooks is twitchy, CeeDee Lamb is a YAC king, and Tony Pollard is a big-yardage threat at running back, but the Cowboys’ offensive skill-position players would lose to the 49ers’ in both a relay race and Capture the Flag.
The Cowboys have assembled an impressive team while the 49ers have constructed a lethal weapon. It is possible the Cowboys can scheme a way to victory against the 49ers come playoff time, but the likelihood of that is small.
On the biggest non-Super Bowl NFL stage with Taylor Swift not in attendance, the 49ers beat down one of the best teams in the league. And they did it in part because they have route concepts, in which a fullback can gain seven yards on a slant pattern.
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