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Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys scored 24 points off turnovers in 41-33 game against San Francisco 49ers

The win will help keep Dallas' playoff hopes alive.
Credit: AP
San Francisco 49ers' Tarvarius Moore (33) and Richard Sherman, center, look on as Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup (13) catches a touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The Dallas Cowboys beat the San Francisco 49ers 41-33 on Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

The win will help keep the Cowboys' hopes of making it to the playoffs alive. At 5-9, if some very specific things happen in the final weeks of the season, the Cowboys could potentially take home their second consecutive NFC crown and the playoff game that comes with it in a season that has been riddled with injuries for the team. 

The Cowboys played without running back Ezekiel Elliott in the game that was flexed out of primetime for Week 15.

It was the first time in his career that Elliott had missed a game due to an injury. He is inactive due to problems with his calf. He had previously been listed as questionable ahead of Sunday’s matchup against the 49ers. But, Head Coach Mike McCarthy told reporters Friday he still planned on him playing Sunday.

Meanwhile, the 49ers have had a disappointing, injury-filled 2020 season following their Super Bowl LIV appearance 10 months ago that's now at 5-9.

The two teams played a fairly even game, even with an early lead and a number of turnovers in Dallas' favor. Read below for a full recap of the game's highlights.

First Quarter

After the Cowboys punted with about 12 minutes left in the first quarter, the 49ers fumbled the ball and Dallas was able to recover it in the first big play of the game. The fumble places the team deep in the 49ers' territory.

After several plays, running back Tony Pollard brought the ball in for a touchdown. The extra point was good, so Dallas scores 7 with about 9:30 left to go in the quarter.

Then, as the 49ers began their own play, Cowboys defensive end DeMarucs Lawrence strip sacked quarterback Nick Mullens, again setting the team's offense up in a great position to score.

After just a few plays, the Cowboys scored another touchdown as wide receiver Michael Gallup caught a pass in the end zone. Dallas now leads 14-0 with 6:39 left in the quarter.

The 49ers responded with a drive down the field to get a touchdown from tight end Jordan Reed and bring the score to 14-7 with 12 seconds to go in the quarter.

Second Quarter

Placekicker Greg Zuerlein then raises the score with a field goal for the first points of the second quarter, bringing the Cowboys' lead to 17-7.

The 49ers responded with a touchdown from wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, making it a 17-14 game with 5 minutes left in the quarter.

Then, as the 49ers began their own play, Cowboys defensive end DeMarucs Lawrence strip sacked quarterback Nick Mullens, again setting the team's offense up in a great position to score.

After just a few plays, the Cowboys scored another touchdown as wide receiver Michael Gallup caught a pass in the end zone. Dallas now leads 14-0 with 6:39 left in the quarter.

The 49ers responded with a drive down the field to get a touchdown from tight end Jordan Reed and bring the score to 14-7 with 12 seconds to go in the quarter.

Third Quarter

With under 11 minutes left in the quarter, the 49ers tied the game 17-17 with a 41-yard field goal from placekicker Robbie Gould. 

Just a few minutes later, the Cowboys responded with a touchdown from tight end Dalton Schultz as he ran into the end zone with a 49er player on his back. The score brings the Cowboys back in to the lead 24-17 after the extra point is good.

With a little more than 2 minutes left to go, the 49ers brought it back to a tie at 24-24 with a touchdown from running back Jeff Wilson.

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Van Der Esch is now questionable to return after an ankle injury and safety Xavier Woods will not return following a chest injury.

Fourth Quarter

Dallas safety Donovan Wilson intercepted a pass from Mullens, creating a third turnover for Dallas deep in San Francisco's territory. That interception turned into three points for the Cowboys as Zuerlein scored a 46-yard field goal to take the lead 27-24. 

Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup is out for the rest of the game due to a hip injury.

Then Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown created the fourth turnover from the 49ers of the game with an interception from Mullens, again placing Dallas in a good position to score.

That was all Pollard needed to run it in to the end zone from the 40-yard line for a touchdown and the extra point. The Cowboys have now scored 24 points off of turnovers in the 34-24 game with just a little more than 2 minutes left in the game.

Gould was able to bring the 49ers' score up by 3 with a field goal from 31 yards. With 40 seconds left to go in the game, San Francisco would have to score a touchdown in the final seconds to tie it up.

Wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was then able to return an onside kick all the way for another Dallas touchdown when the ball bounced during the kickoff, leading to a solid lead for the Cowboys at 41-27.

And with seconds left to go, the 49ers scored a touchdown as time expired with a 49-yard touchdown pass to bring the game to 41-33.