SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

49ers demolish Cowboys behind Kittle hat-trick to stay undefeated

Oct 8, 2023, 8:20 PM | Updated: Oct 9, 2023, 10:28 am

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with teammates after a touchdown during the...

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Under the bright lights of Sunday Night, the 49ers took care of business against their rivals to go 5-0 on the 2023 NFL season.

The San Francisco 49ers took the Dallas Cowboys to school in Week 5, defeating the Texas team, 42-10, to remain undefeated. In a primetime matchup expected to be competitive, it was anything but that in the end, with the home side dominating in every facet off the contest.

Here’s how it happened.

The 49ers offense was in command from the jump, marching down the field with ease. After running back Christian McCaffrey’s first carry resulted in a facemask against Dallas, the 49ers moved the ball effective with a few first downs. The Cowboys also helped out a bit, giving their opponents another free first down on an offsides call. The next play, quarterback Brock Purdy moved out of the pocket to his right, throwing on the run to a wide open George Kittle for six.

A 19-yard touchdown strike puts the 49ers up 7-0 within four minutes.

The offense’s success only fueled the defense for the 49ers, coming out with a stand early. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks deployed a six-man rush on third down, forcing Dallas into a three and out to start Sunday.

The two teams struggled to move the ball on offense for the rest of the first quarter, with each of them going three and out on consecutive series. San Francisco had an 11-play drive for 29 yards, but a tackle for loss on third down pushed the red & Gold out of field-goal range.

Then the 49ers’ defense made the first big play of the day at the end of the quarter.

Forcing running back Tony Pollard towards the boundaries, linebacker Fred Warner punched the ball out. After taking an awkward roll to stay in-bounds, defensive tackle Kevin Givens pounced on the football to secure the takeaway.

Unfortunately, that 49ers’ drive inside the redzne ended abruptly, with McCaffrey fumbling the ball back to Dallas at the start of the second quarter. This is the first turnover for the star ballcarrier all season, only giving uo the rock 10 times in his career.

Luckily, the 49ers’ defense came to play once again, forcing another three & out after Warner sacked QB Dak Prescott on third down.

San Francisco picked up right where they were on offense before the fumble, scoring not he very next play. Using a bit of trickery, Purdy handed it off to McCaffrey, who gave the ball to wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who then flipped it back to Purdy. With a streaking Kittle downfield, the gunslinger hit his tight end in-stride, racing to the undone from 38 yards out.

14-0 49ers in the blink of an eye.

Dallas wouldn’t go away though, mustering up their lone successful drive next.

Prescott and the Cowboys were able to move the chains well downfield. Picking his spots, the QB hit TE Luke Schoomaker for a big 20-yard gain to Dallas in scoring position. A few plays later, Prescott found paydirt, hitting WR (Turpin) on a slot go route for 26 yards.

14-7 was the score midway through the second quarter.

But like all great teams, they respond. And that the 49ers did.

On the next series, San Francisco marched down the field once more, taking up five minutes of game time.

After some penalties against the Cowboys, Purdy hit McCaffrey on a 19-yard screen pass to get the offense moving. Then, RB Jordan Mason had some hard runs to get the 49ers in first & goal. A few plays later, McCaffrey gets the ball, knifing his way to the endzone for his 14th-straight game with a TD.

21-7 49ers to enter the half.

The intermission only benefited the home side, coming out of the locker room with a point to prove.

But once again, the visitors didn’t go away without a fight, taking the opening possession down the field before stalling out. Dallas kicker Brandon Aubrey came on to convert the field goal, making it 21-10.

That’s when the game got out of hand.

The 49ers’ offense responded to the Cowboys with another TD drive. Purdy was the catalyst this time, hitting WR Brandon Aiyuk for a 23 yard catch-and-run to kick it off. But it was called back thanks to a hold by right guard Specner Burford. That was no problem for Purdy however, hitting Deebo Samuel next for an even bigger gain of 43 yards.

Now inside the ten-yard-line, the 49ers called play action to the left. While surveying the scene, Purdy flipped his hips and found Kittle in the middle of the endzone for his third score of the afternoon. A hat-trick game for the vetran tight end, his first in his career.

28-10 was the score, with the 49ers firmly in command.

Then, Prescott and Dallas unraveled.

Trying to force big plays, the QB heaved a ball downfield into double coverage on the next possession. Overthrowing WR Brandin Cooks, 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson fielded the pass for the first interception of the game.

And just like on the previous drive, the 49ers offense responded with another six points.

San Francisco was able to convert on third down numerous times on the 12-play drive, with Purdy making accurate reads throughout. Taking up the rest of the third quarter, the Red & Gold capped the drive off with a play-action bootleg to fullback Kyle Juszczyk for the score.

35-10 to open the fourth quarter, game over.

The 49ers weren’t done though, with the defense showing out for two more takeaways.

Their next one came quick, with cornerback Deommodore Lenoir tipped a pass intended for WR Michael Gallup. The ball floated in the air before Fred Warner secured it for the INT.

Giving the ball back to the offense, SF put the nail in the coffin on the very next play. RB Jordan Mason got the call, taking a zone toss through the defense to go untouched for a 26-yard rush.

42-10 to the home team, a scoreline of carnage for the 49ers.

And with both teams playing for reps the rest of the way, SF’s backups shined in the moment. LB Oren Burks read the eyes of Prescott, lunging in front of a slant pass to get the team’s third pick of the day.

And that was all she wrote, with backup QBs entering the game thereafter.

A game marqueed as a clash of two NFC titans, only one team showed their class Sunday, making a mockery of the lesser.

On the day, Kittle finished with three catches for 67 yards and three scores, the most in a single game in his career. Meanwhile, Purdy had his first four TD contest of his young career, finshing with 252 passing yards and a 144.4 quarterback rating.

“He’s a robot, man. He’s just very special,” Goerge Kittle said about his quarterback Sunday.

Defensively, the 49ers dominated, getting four takeaways on their rivals. Warner was the star, recording eight combined tackles, one sack, one INT and one forced fumble. San Francisco’s defensive line also had four sacks, but it was the play of their captain that sparked the performance Sunday.

“He’s the best in the world and it’s not close,” defensive end Nick Bosa said about Warner.

The 49ers now start the 2023 season 5-0, their best start since the 2019 season. They are also on a 15 regular-season-win streak, spanning Week 8 of last season. A franchise record, they will look to break it in Week 6 when they face the Cleveland Browns on the road.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST
  • M0nday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST

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