A playoff game between historical postseason rivals really doesn't need any added hype, but that's exactly what the 49ers-Cowboys wild-card game has gotten ahead of Sunday's showdown.
49ers Pro Bowl pass rusher Nick Bosa was asked about the Cowboys' offensive line, specifically tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins. While he was complimentary of both players, Bosa did make a comment that will undoubtedly get back to the Cowboys, if it hasn't already.
"I think they're both very solid players," Bosa said on Thursday, via NFL.com's Kevin Patra. "Obviously, Tyron's had a Hall of Fame career, I think. And him and Trent have been the best tackles in the league for a long time. But they're definitely beatable. There's tape on them getting beat, and we're trying to do the same. They've definitely been in and out of the lineup a lot this year and the past years, so, the game plan is to make them work."
Saying Smith and Collins are "definitely beatable" may not qualify as trash talk, but trash talk is nothing new to this rivalry. Before the 1993 NFC Championship Game, Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson famously predicted a win on a local Dallas radio show. During the game, a 38-21 Cowboys victory, Dallas cornerback Larry Brown boasted that he "owned" Jerry Rice, who at that time was already being lauded as the greatest receiver in league history.
In 2000, then-49ers receiver Terrell Owens made headlines by celebrating a touchdown on the Cowboys' midfield star. Emmitt Smith defended the Cowboys' honor by putting the football on the star after he scored a touchdown later in the game. Owens tried to duplicate his celebration after another score before he was tackled by Cowboys defensive back George Teague.
The greatest play in the rivalry's history included trash talk. After hitting Dwight Clark for the game-winning score in the 1981 NFC Championship Game, 49ers quarterback Joe Montana was approached by Cowboys Pro Bowl pass rusher Ed "Too Tall" Jones, one of the defenders who had pressured Montana on his game-winning touchdown pass.
"You just beat America's Team," Jones said to Montana.
"Well," Joe Cool replied, "You can sit on your ass with the rest of America and watch the Super Bowl."
We'll see if Bosa's comments further motivate the Cowboys' offense, a unit that helped Dallas finish ninth in the NFL in rushing during the regular season. Regardless, Bosa and the 49ers' defense will have their hands full against a Cowboys offense that led the NFL in scoring during the regular season.