SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)The San Francisco 49ers’ fast start to the season went into overdrive against the Dallas Cowboys.
After four relatively convincing wins to open the year, San Francisco thoroughly dismantled Dallas 42-10 on the national stage Sunday night and became the leading Super Bowl favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
San Francisco (5-0) matched the 2019 team for the best start through five games for the franchise in the past three decades. But this version of the Niners looks far more dangerous than the one that went 13-3 four years ago before losing to Kansas City in the Super Bowl.
“The way we can attack on offense,” edge rusher Nick Bosa said of the biggest difference between the teams. “In 2019 (it) was a majority run game. Now we can attack any which way. … Whenever you double cover somebody, someone else makes a play.”
That was on full display against the Cowboys.
With Dallas’ defense geared to slow down Christian McCaffrey and the running game, the 49ers won through the air behind the play of Brock Purdy.
Purdy threw for 252 yards and a career-high four touchdowns and played perhaps has best game yet during his perfect 10-0 start as a regular-season starter.
He threw a TD pass to George Kittle on the opening drive and San Francisco never really was threatened as the defense teed off on Dak Prescott with three sacks and three interceptions while playing with the lead all night.
“As soon as the offense went down on that first drive and scored, I knew we got them,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “The way they’re operating right now is unbelievable. I’ve been a part of a lot of good teams since I’ve been here but the way the offense is playing is unlike anything I’ve seen. That right there lets me know as long as the defense is doing our job, we’re always going to have a chance.”
San Francisco is the sixth team ever to score at least 30 points in each of its first five games. Four of the previous five teams made the Super Bowl.
Purdy has thrown for 1,271 yards with nine TDs, no interceptions and a league-best 123.1 passer rating.
“It feels like everyone’s just on a mission,” Purdy said. “The mindset is right where it needs to be. Everyone’s so detailed in what they do. The play calls are great. All I have to do is go out there and do my job and that’s it and just play ball.”
Warner and Dre Greenlaw. The two linebackers are leading the way for the Niners defense and set the tone early against Dallas. Warner became the first 49ers player in 10 years with a sack, interception and forced fumble in the same game. Greenlaw had five tackles, two tackles for loss and a pass defensed.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
Kickoffs. The Niners have been trying directional kickoffs this season and it hasn’t paid off. Jake Moody has kicked two out of bounds and had a short kick on Sunday that Dallas returned to the 34. San Francisco ranks sixth worst in the NFL with opponents’ average starting field position at the 25.9-yard line.
Kittle. After getting targeted only once in Week 4, Kittle was a much bigger part of the Niners’ offense on Sunday. He caught a 19-yard TD pass on the opening drive, a 38-yarder on a reverse flea-flicker in the second quarter and a 10-yarder in the third quarter. He was the first San Francisco player with three TD catches in a game since Vernon Davis in 2009.
CB Isaiah Oliver. There wasn’t much that went wrong for San Francisco, but Oliver struggled in the slot. He got beat by KaVontae Turpin for a 26-yard TD in the second quarter and allowed four other catches on four targets, according to Pro Football Focus.
LG Aaron Banks left in the second half with a biceps injury and is day to day. … EB Elijah Mitchell could return this week from a knee injury.
99 – The 49ers have outscored opponents by a league-best 99 points so far this season, becoming the ninth team with a point differential that high in a 5-0 start. Of the previous eight teams to do it, three won the Super Bowl (2009 Saints, 1999 Rams, 1991 Washington) and three lost it (1968 Colts, 2006 Bears, 2007 Patriots).
Visit Cleveland on Sunday.
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