The Dallas Cowboys were one-and-done in the NFL Playoffs after falling to the San Francisco 49ers 23-17 on Sunday afternoon. An otherwise strong season resulted in overwhelming disappointment.

Dallas won 12 games, earned the NFC East crown, and clinched the no. 3 seed in the playoffs; yet, it feels all for naught. The Cowboys dropped a very winnable game to the 49ers, thanks, largely, to self-inflicted errors and mistakes.

Penalties were a major concern for the Dallas Cowboys all season long. It seemed as if holding was called on every big offensive play. Dallas even made a change at offensive line at point in the year because of Connor Williams’ mistakes.

Dallas fell to the Las Vegas Raiders on Thanksgiving Day in a game that the Cowboys struggled with defensive pass interference calls. Penalties and general avoidable miscues have been ongoing issues since week one.

Instead of learning from and cleaning up previous mistakes, the Cowboys committed more self-inflicted errors on Wildcard Weekend. As a result, Dallas will be watching the remainder of the playoffs from the couch.


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Jan 16, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) sits on the turf after play against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of the NFC Wild Card playoff football game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Holding, illegal shift, defensive holding, hands to the face. You name it. The Dallas Cowboys committed nearly every penalty that you could think of during the loss to the ‘Niners.

It is not just that penalties were called that hurt the Cowboys. That happens in every game. The bigger issue is when the penalties were committed.

Dallas was called for three penalties on third down in the game, giving the 49ers a fresh set of downs to wear down the defense with its high-powered rushing attack. San Francisco found ways to take advantage throughout the game, which made the hole for the Cowboys to crawl out of that much bigger.

The Cowboys failed to adjust or fix the issues throughout the four quarters. That is something that falls back on coaching. Dallas seemingly always committed a penalty each time that the Cowboys were rolling with momentum.

Beyond penalties, the Cowboys failed to capitalize on chances that the 49ers gave them. Questionable play calling in key situations, the sun blocking Cedrick Wilson from seeing the ball, and missed tackles occurred throughout the game.

Furthermore, the average yards-to-go on third down for the Cowboys was 3rd and 8.2 yards. Dallas was consistently behind the chains, and that is extremely difficult to overcome. It was one thing on top of another from start to finish for the Dallas Cowboys.

“Self-inflicted errors,” Dak Prescott said following the Cowboys’ disappointing defeat. “We stopped ourselves … This is playoff football, and when you’re hurting yourself and getting behind the chains, it’s tough.”

Dallas had plenty of opportunities to win on Sunday. The 49ers left the door open for the Cowboys until the final moments, but the home team failed to take advantage.

Featured image via Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports