1. 49ers First-Down Failures
Let's look at two consecutive first-down plays for the 49ers from the Cowboys' four in the first quarter. Both times, San Francisco tried to pass the ball on first down, which ended up in incomplete passes. So on second-and-goal, the 49ers are forced to run, although Frank Gore nets no yards. Then on third down, the 49ers go back to the pass, but get nothing and settle for two field goals. Running the ball or getting positive yards on first down gives more flexibility to the play-calling down in the red zone. It might not have mattered much in the end, but San Francisco has a 14-0 lead instead of 6-0, and we could be talking about a different game.
2. Back-To-Back Sacks
With a 7-6 lead in the second quarter, the Cowboys added to it with two straight sacks, one by Anthony Spencer of nine yards, and another four-yard loss from DeMarcus Ware. That pushed the 49ers back to the five and the ensuing punt was blocked by Carlos Polk for a safety. The Cowboys don't score on the next possession, but held the field-position battle for another Nick Folk field goal.
3. Hill's Fumble
With the Cowboys already leading 15-6 late in the second quarter, Shaun Hill fumbled the snap for the 49ers and Zach Thomas pounced on the ball for the recovery. Although he was never touched and went into the end zone for a score, the officials say a whistle was blown. It didn't matter because the Cowboys scored five plays later to take a 22-6 halftime lead.
4. Anthony Henry's Pick
The Cowboys had just turned the ball over on that odd interception/fumbled lateral when Romo tried to dump off a pass to Tashard Choice. But just one play later the Cowboys got it back when Anthony Henry picked off Hill's pass in the end zone. It was just the fifth interception of the season for the Cowboys' defense. The Cowboys used that pick to go on a 12-play, 51-yard drive that resulted in yet another Folk field goal.
5. Barber's Onside Recovery
It was just a simple recovery by Barber, but it occurred after the 49ers had successfully recovered the kick, only to be called for offsides. While it gave the Cowboys a chance to get another field goal, it also prevented San Francisco from getting the ball back. And when they did, we saw what the 49ers could do offensively, marching right down the field for a score. So Barber collecting that kickoff bought the Cowboys enough time for this one to be sealed.