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Cowboys Come Alive Late But Trail 49ers 16-7 at Half

Penalties in all three phases continued for coach Mike McCarthy's team

The Cowboys (12-5) came into Sunday's Wild Card matchup with the San Francisco 49ers (10-7) with an offense aiming to top its record-breaking regular season. 

But it was the Niners who led 16-7 headed into the locker room after putting up points on four of five first-half drives. Dallas didn't seem the least bit explosive in the first 20 minutes of game action. A handful of penalties in all three phases killed a few chances at early momentum until wide receiver Amari Cooper caught a 20-yard touchdown pass to give the Cowboys their first points of the game. 

San Francisco had methodically made its way to a 13-0 lead, including an opening-drive touchdown. After picking up four-straight first downs, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell walked in for six.

Dallas coach Mike McCarthy spoke during the week about his team's preparation against a offensive-minded coach like Kyle Shanahan. 

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"We got to be really on it. We got to be really disciplined in those focal points and make sure we're triggering and not hesitating."

The Cowboys seemed to be doing the opposite of both after having just seven total yards in the first quarter.

Still, the Dallas offense will get the ball to begin the second half with a chance to build off of some second-quarter energy.