American Football

49ers vs. Cowboys by the numbers: Micah Parsons spends most of his time against left tackles


NFC Wild Card Playoffs - San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Plus, a look into a leaky Dallas run defense

The 49ers and Cowboys play on Sunday in what will be a rematch of last season’s Wild Card Weekend. Dallas is coming off a win against the Buccaneers on Monday night, and the 49ers completed a three-game sweep of the Seahawks to advance to the Divisional Round.

In what will be a familiar matchup between to franchises on Sunday, these are some numbers to keep in mind as the 49ers attempt to advance to Championship Sunday for the second consecutive year:


Times the 49ers have played the Cowboys in the playoffs. With their game on Sunday, the rivalry will tie Cowboys/Rams and 49ers/Packers as the most common matchup in NFL postseason history.

The 49ers’ 23-17 Wild Card win last year gave the 49ers consecutive playoff wins against the Cowboys for the first time in the series, with the previous win coming in 1995. The Cowboys dropped to 5-3 in the playoffs against the 49ers with the loss last year after winning the first three playoff matchups between the two in 1971 and 1972.

The 49ers didn’t have a playoff win against Dallas until 1982 when Joe Montana hit Dwight Clark, who made “The Catch” to give the 49ers a 28-27 win. The two wouldn’t meet in the playoffs until 1993 but played in three consecutive NFC Championship Games from 1993-1995, with Steve Young and the 49ers winning the last of the three games.

Sunday will also mark the third time the two have met in consecutive postseasons. Both of those times led to a third consecutive postseason meeting, something to keep in mind for 2024.

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Number of regular season games the Cowboys’ defense has allowed 100 or more rushing yards. Dallas closed the regular season allowing 100 or more rushing yards in four of their last six games before allowing just 52 rushing yards against Tampa Bay last week, although the Buccaneers only ran the ball 12 times.

Christian McCaffrey alone had 12 or more rushing attempts in eight of his 11 games since being acquired by the 49ers, and the 49ers likely won’t abandon the run like Tampa Bay on Monday. McCaffrey’s 15 attempts last week against Seattle resulted in 119 rushing yards, the fourth time in his last six games he’s reached at least 100 rushing yards.

The 49ers ran the ball 38 times in their Wild Card win over Dallas last year, with Elijah Mitchell and Deebo Samuel combining for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Adding Christian McCaffrey and a Cowboys defense that was worse against the run than they were last season, and Kyle Shanahan could go run-heavy once again.


Snaps taken by Micah Parsons as a right outside linebacker vs. left outside linebacker, according to Pro Football Focus. Parsons played 18 as the left outside linebacker against Tampa Bay last week, the most he’s played on the right side of the offense since Week 13.

In four of his last five games, Parsons has played at least 40 snaps as the edge rusher against the offense’s left side. This would mean Parsons would line up against Trent Williams more on Sunday than Mike McGlinchey if the trend continued.

Parsons was used more as a box linebacker when these two teams met last season, playing 42 of his 58 snaps in the box with only 12 pass-rushing opportunities.

He lined up on the right side of the offense on 30 of those 58 snaps, but the 49ers had Tom Compton as their right tackle then.

If Dallas opts to flip Parsons, his matchup against McGlinchey will be tougher than his few chances against Compton last season. McGlinchey didn’t allow a pressure last week against Settle and has only allowed seven pressures in his last six games.

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