Final

Cowboys 34

(2-1, 2-0 away)

49ers 31

(1-2, 1-1 home)

4:05 PM ET, September 25, 2005

 

1 2 3 4 T
DAL 0 12 7 1534
SF 7 17 7 031

Top Performers

Passing: D. Bledsoe (DAL) - 363 YDS, 2 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: J. Jones (DAL) - 26 CAR, 85 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: B. Lloyd (SF) - 4 REC, 142 YDS, 2 TD

Bledsoe, Keyshawn connect for winning TD with 1:51 to go

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- In a rivalry with this much history, it was only fitting for Keyshawn Johnson to borrow a move from a former great to score the dramatic winning touchdown.

-->
It was over when ...
Keyshawn Johnson reeled in a 14-yard TD pass from Drew Bledsoe with 1:51 to go, capping the Cowboys' rally from a 12-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
Game ball goes to ...
Bledsoe, who had his first 300-yard game in more than two years and passed Joe Montana for eighth on the NFL's career yards passing list. Bledsoe was 24-of-38 for 363 yards in the win.
ESPN's take ...
Eric Allen This was a must-win game for the Cowboys, who couldn't afford to lose another game that they were supposed to win. Meanwhile, the 49ers are this season's version of the Arizona Cardinals -- they are going to surprise some teams with their confidence and make teams fight hard for a victory. This team has been infused with confidence by their new coaching staff. This staff is trying to recreate the glory days of the 49ers and are going to do so with good drafting and smart game plans.
-- Eric Allen

Only the Dallas receiver's inspiration played for the other team -- which could make the furious 49ers even more frustrated.

Johnson caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe with 1:51 to play, and the Cowboys rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 34-31 victory over San Francisco on Sunday.

Johnson's score capped a precise 76-yard scoring drive by the Cowboys (2-1), who fell behind early but rallied late in their third straight nail-biting game of the season. After losing their composure and their 13-point lead in the final 4 minutes of last Monday's loss to Washington, Johnson's catch finished an impressive display of late-game poise.

Johnson said the play was a "speed-out."

"I think it's taken out of Jerry Rice back in the day," he said.

Bledsoe, the veteran acquired for his calm leadership as much as his arm, was 24-of-38 for 363 yards, passing Joe Montana for eighth place on the NFL's career yards passing list with his first 300-yard game since Sept. 14, 2003. Terry Glenn had 137 yards receiving and Julius Jones rushed for two scores for the Cowboys, who would love a relaxing game any weekend now.

"I can't take too many more of these. That's three in a row," Jones said.

Dallas won its opener with an end-zone interception on the final play at San Diego, but Washington rallied for a 14-13 win last week.

"I think we proved we can take a punch and still win in the end," Dallas coach Bill Parcells said. "You take 'em any way you can. That's three of these right to the wire. Usually, you're only supposed to have four (decided by) three points or under the entire season, so we're almost right up against our quota right now."

Johnson also caught a 2-point conversion pass after his TD, and Dat Nguyen intercepted Tim Rattay's tipped pass at midfield with 54 seconds left.

The clubs have one of the NFL's most enduring rivalries stretching to the early 1970s, when they met in the first of six NFC championship matchups through 1994. Five years ago Saturday, Terrell Owens celebrated two scores at Texas Stadium on the star logo at midfield, stirring bad blood between the teams.

There was no bad behavior in this one -- only bad late-game execution by the 49ers.

Brandon Lloyd caught an 89-yard touchdown pass and another scoring toss from Rattay for the 49ers (1-2), who seemed ready to match their win total from last season, when they finished with the NFL's worst record.

Instead, coach Mike Nolan was enraged by his first home defeat.

"It's unacceptable to lose that game," Nolan said. "They ought to feel the same way. It's unacceptable. We're not a 2-14 football team. When you all of a sudden think that you're a 2-14 football team, that's an OK performance."

Nolan also criticized unnamed players for a lack of "trust" in the game plan and their teammates, intimating that personnel changes could come soon.

"When you call a play, you can do what you're supposed to do on that play, or you can think you know better and try to do what you want," he said. "One is called trust, one is called distrust. ... The ones that trust, and who I believe are champions, will remain here."

Safety Tony Parrish returned one interception 34 yards for a score, and his second pick set up Lloyd's 13-yard TD reception late in the third quarter to put San Francisco up 31-19. Rattay was 21-of-34 for 269 yards and three TDs, but the 49ers scored just once after a second-quarter flurry similar to their impressive effort two weeks ago against St. Louis.

"We never felt it slipping away," Rattay said. "We felt good and confident. I couldn't make any plays near the end, and I take full responsibility for this loss."

In addition to his prolific passing numbers against the 49ers' suspect defense, Bledsoe had just his seventh TD rushing in 13 NFL seasons in the second quarter. Dallas made two lengthy scoring drives in the first half, starting inside its 20 both times -- but early on, the Cowboys' consistency couldn't match the 49ers' knack for big plays.

Game notes


Dallas K Jose Cortez missed an extra point after Dallas' first touchdown, because of a bad snap. Cortez, a former San Francisco kicker, seemed furious after the play -- and veteran lineman Larry Allen shoved him in the face, lifting Cortez's helmet off his head. ... Lloyd's catch was the second-longest pass ever completed against the Cowboys. ... Bledsoe hadn't thrown an interception in Dallas' four preseason games and first two regular-season contests.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

ESPNDallas.com 

Team Stat Comparison

 
DAL
SF
1st Downs2619
Passing 1st downs
1611
Rushing 1st downs
97
1st downs from penalties
11
3rd down efficiency
6-136-12
4th down efficiency
1-30-0
Total Plays7261
Total Yards443390
Yards per play6.26.4
Total Drives1312
Passing348266
Comp-Att
24-3821-34
Yards per pass
8.77.4
Interceptions thrown
22
Sacks-Yards Lost
2-152-3
Rushing95124
Rushing Attempts
3225
Yards per rush
3.05.0
Red Zone (Made-Att)0-50-3
Penalties6-458-67
Turnovers33
Fumbles lost
11
Interceptions thrown
22
Defensive / Special Teams TDs01
Possession32:0527:55

Passing Leaders

DALC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Bledsoe24/383639.6222-15
SFC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Rattay21/342697.9322-3

Rushing Leaders

DALCARYDSAVGTDLG
Jones26853.3214
Bledsoe351.716
SFCARYDSAVGTDLG
Barlow12655.4027
Gore7426.009

Receiving Leaders

DALRECYDSAVGTDLG
Glenn513727.4058
Witten68514.2126
SFRECYDSAVGTDLG
Lloyd414235.5289
Battle66811.3115

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDALSF
sfTD3:38Arnaz Battle, 15 yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 14 plays, 85 yds, 6:59
07
dalTD8:53Drew Bledsoe, 6 yd run
Drive info: 15 plays, 92 yds, 7:46
67
sfTD7:56Brandon Lloyd, 89 yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 3 plays, 80 yds, 0:50
614
dalTD6:49Tony Parrish, 34 yd interception return (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 2 plays, 4 yds, 0:05
621
dalTD3:38Jason Witten, 6 yd pass from Drew Bledsoe
Drive info: 6 plays, 84 yds, 2:57
1221
sfFG0:18Joe Nedney 13 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 14 plays, 71 yds, 3:07
1224
THIRD QUARTERDALSF
dalTD9:25Julius Jones, 1 yd run (Jose Cortez kick is good)
Drive info: 10 plays, 55 yds, 4:38
1924
sfTD0:43Brandon Lloyd, 13 yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good)
Drive info: 5 plays, 7 yds, 1:20
1931
FOURTH QUARTERDALSF
dalTD14:54Julius Jones, 1 yd run (Jose Cortez kick is good)
Drive info: 4 plays, 72 yds, 14:20
2631
dalTD1:56Keyshawn Johnson, 14 yd pass from Drew Bledsoe( for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 8 plays, 76 yds, 4:09
3431