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McCaffrey, 49ers slip by 'disappointed' Cowboys, advance to NFC title game

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (C) passes while under pressure from Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa (97) and linebacker Micah Parsons in the first quarter of an NFC divisional-round game Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (C) passes while under pressure from Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa (97) and linebacker Micah Parsons in the first quarter of an NFC divisional-round game Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Christian McCaffrey scored on a go-ahead touchdown run at the start of the fourth quarter to give the San Francisco 49ers their final edge in a victory over the Dallas Cowboys, clinching a spot in the NFC title game.

McCaffrey's 2-yard run was the 49ers' only touchdown in the 19-12 triumph Sunday at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

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They will meet the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game Sunday in Philadelphia, with the winner moving on to Super Bowl LVII.

"This is exactly where you want to be," 49ers tight end George Kittle told reporters. "At the start of the year back in OTAs, all you are doing is preparing for the Super Bowl. To be one step away from that, it's awesome.

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"To go into Philly, which is a fantastic atmosphere. ... know how much the fans love their opposing team, the opposing team and all the fans. So it's going to be really fun and it's going to be cold and violent and it's going to be a blast."

The 49ers out-gained the Cowboys 312-282 in total yards, totaled 21 first downs and converted 50% of their third-down opportunities.

They also totaled 86 of their 113 rushing yards in the second half.

Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott completed 23 of 37 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions.

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"It hurts," Prescott said. "Very disappointed we weren't able to come out. Disappointed in my play. Disappointed for the guys in the locker room.

"This is a special team. Guys do things the right way, prepare the right way, believe in each other and have a lot of love. It's unfortunate. Sucks."

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49ers kicker Robbie Gould opened the scoring with a 26-yard field goal with 2:16 left in the first quarter. The Cowboys answered with a 14-play, 74-yard drive. Prescott ended the possession with a 4-yard touchdown toss to tight end Dalton Schultz.

49ers defensive end Samson Ebukam blocked the extra-point attempt from kicker Brett Maher. The 49ers followed with a 10-play, 46-yard drive, which ended with another Gould field goal and tied the score.

Gould added another 50-yard field goal at the end of the second quarter to give the 49ers a 9-6 lead at halftime.

Cowboys cornerback Kelvin Joseph forced punt returner Ray-Ray McCloud to fumble about three minutes into the second half. Maher made a 25-yard field goal a couple minutes later to tie the score. Neither team scored for the remainder of the third quarter.

McCaffrey then ended a 10-play, 91-yard drive with his 2-yard score at the start of the fourth. Maher went on to make a 43-yard field goal about four minutes later, but the Cowboys never scored again. Gould made a 28-yard kick with about three minutes remaining for the final points of the night.

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McCaffrey totaled 41 yards from scrimmage and a score on 16 touches in the victory. Kittle caught five passes for 95 yards. 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy completed 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards.

Cowboys wide receiver CeeDee Lamb totaled a game-high 10 catches for 117 yards. Running back Tony Pollard logged 33 yards on eight touches, before he left the game in the second quarter due to an ankle injury.

"I think really as a whole, you had two teams just battling it out," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said.

"We knew it was going to be a slug fest. We just didn't quite do enough. ... Obviously just extremely disappointed. This has been an incredible journey, with this group of men and we just came up short to a very good football team."

The 49ers will face the Eagles at 3 p.m. EST Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. The winner will meet the Kansas City Chiefs or Cincinnati Bengals in Super Bowl LII.

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