SANTA CLARA, Calif.– The Cowboys left little doubt, jumping on the 49ers early and often. There were great catches, great runs and safeties making kicks.
But all games have those plays that can get lost in the shuffle, but still play a huge part in the final outcome. Check out the five plays from this game that turned the tide.
Zeke's overturn –This might be a first for this segment, but this play actually occurred five days earlier in New York. But the decision by U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty in New York to give a Temporary Restraining Order to allow Ezekiel Elliott to play in this game certainly changed the outcome and shouldn't be forgotten. Zeke ran wild both as a runner and receiver, totaling a career-best 219 all-purpose yards, including three touchdowns.
Frazier's forced fumble –Apparently safety Kavon Frazier didn't like being inactive for the last game. He came out with a big play early on, forcing a fumble on the first punt of the day. Frazier knocked the ball out of Trent Taylor's hands, and the recovery by Xavier Woods led to a touchdown by Ezekiel Elliott just three plays later, giving the Cowboys an early 7-0 lead.
Offsetting Penalty Opens Door for Zeke –With the Cowboys leading 7-0 midway through the first quarter, Dak Prescott was flagged for intentional grounding that would've pushed the ball back near the 40-yard line and given the team a second-and-26. However, an illegal contact penalty down the field on the 49ers' Rashard Robinson negated the penalty. The Cowboys replayed first down and on the next play, Elliott ripped through the line for a 25-yard touchdown, pushing the lead to 14-0.
Morris picks up 9 on catch – While it didn't seem like a big play at the time, Alfred Morris was able to get 9 yards on first-and-16, which came immediately after a holding penalty by James Hanna. The screen pass in the flat to Morris not only gave the Cowboys better field position, but got them in a spot to score a touchdown on the next play. The Cowboys knew Dan Bailey was injured and they couldn't attempt a longer field goal try. So that 9 yards allowed them to take a shot to the end zone on the next play, resulting in a splendid one-handed catch by Jason Witten in the end zone.
Lawrence sack and fumble – It wouldn't be a Cowboys game in 2017 without a sack by DeMarcus Lawrence, who now has one in every game. He also picked up his third forced fumble and he actually recovered it himself. But his play was big late in the second quarter with the 49ers driving and looking to cut into a 20-3 Dallas lead. San Francisco had a shot to get some points and cut the deficit to two scores. Instead, Lawrence came screaming off the edge to sack Beathard, force the ball out and then make the recovery, keeping the Cowboys' advantage at 20-3 at the half.