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Dallas at San Francisco

Cowboys rally back from 12-point deficit to beat 49ers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports

SAN FRANCISCO -- 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.

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.


  • 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 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Keyshawn Johnson celebrates his 14-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe with 1:51 to play.
Keyshawn Johnson celebrates his 14-yard touchdown pass from Drew Bledsoe with 1:51 to play. (AP)


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Scoring Summary
TDArnaz Battle, 15 Yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good), 3:29. Drive: 11 plays, 80 yards in 6:59.
TDDrew Bledsoe, 6 Yd run (Jose Cortez kick Failed), 8:46. Drive: 14 plays, 92 yards in 7:21.
TDBrandon Lloyd, 89 Yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good), 7:43. Drive: 2 plays, 80 yards in 1:03.
TDTony Parrish, 34 Yd interception return (Joe Nedney kick is good), 6:42.
TDJason Witten, 6 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Drew Bledsoe 2 Pt. Conversion pass to Dan Campbell failed), 3:33. Drive: 6 plays, 84 yards in 3:09.
FGJoe Nedney 20 Yd, 0:15. Drive: 13 plays, 69 yards in 3:18.
TDJulius Jones, 1 Yd run (Jose Cortez kick is good), 9:24. Drive: 10 plays, 55 yards in 4:39.
TDBrandon Lloyd, 13 Yd pass from Tim Rattay (Joe Nedney kick is good), 0:40. Drive: 4 plays, 34 yards in 1:23.
TDJulius Jones, 1 Yd run (Jose Cortez kick is good), 14:51. Drive: 4 plays, 72 yards in 0:49.
TDKeyshawn Johnson, 14 Yd pass from Drew Bledsoe (Drew Bledsoe pass to Keyshawn Johnson for 2 Pt. Conversion), 1:51. Drive: 8 plays, 76 yards in 4:14.
Players of the Game

B. Lloyd
Rec 4
Yds 142
Avg 35.5
TD 2

J. Jones
Rush 26
Yds 85
Avg 3.3
TD 2
D. Bledsoe24/3836322
J. Jones2685214
D. Bledsoe3516
T. Thompson1303
L. Polite1202
P. Crayton1000
T. Glenn5137058
J. Witten685126
K. Johnson574127
P. Crayton439020
J. Jones428018
San Francisco
T. Rattay21/3426932
K. Barlow1265027
F. Gore74209
T. Rattay421013
A. Battle2-404
B. Lloyd4142289
A. Battle668115
K. Barlow428010
J. Morton41907
C. Hetherington1707
F. Gore1505
T. Smith1000
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
KC 10 Final
DEN 30
NYG 23 Final
SD 45
NE 23 Final
PIT 20
ARI 12 Final
SEA 37
TEN 27 Final
STL 31
OAK 20 Final
PHI 23
JAC 26 Final
NYJ 20
NO 16 Final
MIN 33
CAR 24 Final
MIA 27
CLE 6 Final
IND 13
TB 17 Final
GB 16
CIN 24 Final
ATL 24 Final
BUF 16