5 takeaways from 49ers' 42-10 beatdown of Cowboys on Sunday Night Football

Dallas were in it in the first half but San Francisco proved its dominance under the lights

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A decades-long rivalry was restored on Sunday Night Football when the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys went head to head.

But the scoreline wouldn't tell you that.

The 49ers completely dominated in a pretty telling game for both teams, which this will delve into later. From the 49ers' opening statement drive alone, this had the feel of a special night for the Bay Area team under the lights.

Though the Cowboys were in it at the interval, the 49ers illustrated the clear gap between the two and ran up the scoreboard in the second half. It didn't help that Dak Prescott showed his true self in a nightmare game despite bold pre-game chatter.

Let's analyze the game further with five takeaways:

Fred Warner emerges as the real defensive star

In a game featuring elite defensive players such as Nick Bosa, Micah Parsons and more, it was "All Pro" Fred Warner who stepped up at middle linebacker. As he's done in previous matchups with Dallas, Warner forced a turnover by peanut punching Tony Pollard that led to a fumble recovery.

On the ensuing drive, Warner forced a key third-down sack on Prescott that set up the 49ers' next touchdown. In these heavyweight matchups, you need your stars to deliver game-changing plays. Warner did his job in the first half.

His reign of terror on Prescott and Co. carried over in the second when he intercepted a tipped pass. Take a bow, All Pro.

Dak Prescott can't escape ghosts of the past

Prescott wanted to use previous losses as motivation to win this matchup. He ended up playing just like he did in those previous matches.

His first two drives were nervy, and despite bouncing back for some momentum late in the second quarter, he reverted to how he started and ended up having a nightmare outing. Prescott completed just 14-for-24 passes for 153 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

49ers' skill players shine again

Defensive coordinators have a nightmare task to slow Purdy's weapons in Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. Kittle hauled in three touchdown catches on his lone three receptions, McCaffrey added a rushing touchdown on the goal line, Aiyuk's four catches relieved pressure down the middle and Samuel made his usual dual-threat impact.

Kyle Juszczyk also got in on the fun with a receiving touchdown as he remains an underrated piece to the 49ers' well-oiled offense.

Even if Dallas had Trevon Diggs healthy, the 49ers' weapons can be too much to cope with.

Contender vs. pretender is now evident

Even if it's just five weeks, the difference between the two teams was clearly on display. The 49ers continued their overall three-way dominance and dropped 30-plus points for the fifth straight game this season. They've been the best team this season in controlling games and staying composed, and that didn't matter against a Cowboys defense that ranked as an elite one entering the showdown.

The Cowboys, however, had a questionable loss to an Arizona Cardinals team that isn't good but competitive enough to fight all four quarters. And the tape has been out on Prescott for years; he just can't deliver in the big games.

The result makes it pretty clear that the 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles are the best two teams in the NFC and essentially the league. The undefeated record just helps reinforce that. Dallas may linger around, but it's not at the same level even if its head-to-head games against Philly are close.

49ers' choice of Brock Purdy over Trey Lance also clear

Purdy vs. Lance was the 49ers' biggest internal debate over the season. The former No. 3 overall pick was then dealt to Dallas for a 2024 fourth-rounder, and the debate was likely to continue for a while. Even if Lance develops into something as a Cowboy, the 49ers clearly have their franchise QB.

Purdy, a Mr. Irrelevant draft pick, stood out completing 17-for-24 passes for 252 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. His lone sack withdrew just two yards. He's composed under pressure, makes the right read nine out of 10 times and keeps the ball ticking to his star weapons.

The 49ers have the right balance to win it all, they just have to stay relatively healthy for once to do it.

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