Cowboys emotional after fumbling 'winnable' NFC divisional-round game to 49ers

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Cowboys emotional after losing 'winnable game' to 49ers originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA -- The NFL's divisional playoff round didn't provide all that much drama until Sunday afternoon at Levi's Stadium. The Philadelphia Eagles won in a blowout, the Cincinnati Bengals never were really threatened by the Buffalo Bills, and the Kansas City Chiefs only really had to sweat because of an injury to quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

But the 49ers and Dallas Cowboys spent the entire day at Levi's tied or separated by only one score, and that left the visitors with a bitter taste in their mouths after a 19-12 loss.

"It's tough. It's tough. It was a winnable game," Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse said. "It's tough when you know you could have won the game and you've got to watch them celebrate. It's tough."

Kearse fought through tears while trying to sum up the game and the end of his team's season. He was limited by a knee injury all week, but he suited up Sunday as part of a solid defensive effort by a group that held the 49ers to one touchdown.

Asked what made this loss so emotional, Kearse pointed to last year's one-score loss to the 49ers in the wild-card round.

"For me, it's just not getting it done and falling short to the same team two years in a row," he said. "When we could have won the game, it's tough."

Kearse credited the 49ers for making plays when they had to and winning the turnover battle. The Cowboys had two costly ones early, allowing the 49ers to take a 9-6 lead into the half. While the 49ers struggled to get going at times in what was mostly a defensive battle, they had a late touchdown from Christian McCaffrey, outscoring the Cowboys 10-3 in a decisive fourth quarter.

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Asked if the defense ran out of gas at the end, Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons paused and made a face. He pointed out that his defense held the 49ers under 20 points, with six coming off interceptions.

"Going into this game we understood that they wanted to get their players out into open space," Parsons said. "We contained Deebo [Samuel], we contained McCaffrey for the most part, but they made more plays. We limited [them], we tackled, we ran, but they made more plays."

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