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Please don’t tell me you don’t understand how this happened. It is no mystery.

The 49ers outrushed the Cowboys 169-77. The 49ers rushed the ball 38 times. The Cowboys ran it 21. Yes. ATTEMPTS matter.

Turnovers were a draw. Dak and Jimmy G. each threw a pick. Neither team lost a fumble.

TOP? The Niners had the ball for 34 minutes.

Pass rush? I suggested last week that the 49ers would get more heat on Dak than the Cowboys would put on Garoppolo.

Prescott was sacked five times, despite the Niners not having Nick Bosa for most of the game.

Jimmy G.?  Zero. Zero.

This, of course, is because the San Francisco coaching staff gets paid, too. Shanahan and his staff weren’t gonna let Garoppolo get sacked. J.G. threw only quick play-action slants, three-step drops and bootlegs. No way to get to him. And, the Niners did a nice job of game planning Micah. Parsons had no sacks, no quarterback hits, and three solo tackles (only one for a loss).

Dak was hit 14 times. J.G. four.

Fourteen Dallas penalties, tying an NFL playoff record.

The above is the Tale of the Tape. The Niners were “taller,” heavier and had a much longer reach.

The only “mystery” here is that San Francisco didn’t win in an early kayo.

Not that the 49ers were perfect. San Francisco scored only seven second half points and tried like hell to give that game away. The Niners almost succeeded.

Now, regarding those chaotic final seconds. The officiating crew got it right.

I’ll defend the quarterback draw call. In fact, it was a perfect call because it got the Cowboys in position to run a standard pass play into the end zone instead of being reduced to a Hail Mary Heave.

But there was no situational awareness. That’s on McCarthy. That’s on Moore.

That’s on Dak.

EVERYBODY on offense has to know exactly what to do. Dak needed to get down two seconds and a few yards earlier. He then needed to HAND THE BALL to an official. You simply cannot take a chance on having the clock hit zero before you can run a play.

I suggested last week that this was going to be a very awkward matchup for the Cowboys, and that Dallas was going to have a much tougher time preparing for San Francisco than vice versa.

Unfortunately, Dallas now doesn’t have to worry about preparing for anybody else.

Tomorrow: I’ll get busy describing the offseason carnage that will accompany this latest debacle. I’ll go Bananarama on you. It’s going to be a Cruel Summer.

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Paul's Bio

I clearly have the attention span of your median fruit fly.Look! Airplane!

Sorry. I’m back.

It’s both a curse and a blessing. I’ve never bought this stuff about, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” But I do think that a wide range of life experiences helps us grow as people, and helps us better relate to other people. I’ve been fortunate. And I am beyond grateful.

I show up on time. I go like hell. I’m a good listener. I hold myself accountable. I own my mistakes. And I have a natural and an insatiable curiosity. I’m never afraid to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t. But then I try to find out.

The flip side is I’m a lousy ballroom dancer and my clothes sometimes fit me funny.

Stuff matters to me. I care. But while I take that stuff seriously, I try hard to never take myself seriously. As a result, I have sometimes been told, “Paul, it’s hard to tell when you’re serious and when you’re just having some fun. Which is it? Serious or fun?”

My answer is “yes.” But I think that is a legitimate criticism. I promise I’m going to work on that.

This has been the quickest and strangest half-century I’ve ever experienced. During that period, I’ve been afforded amazing opportunities in news and sports journalism across all platforms. I have taught wonderful students at the high school and collegiate level. Always, I learned more from them than they did from me. I’ve been a high school administrator. I spent ten seasons as a high school varsity football coach. I’ve been an advertising executive. I’ve hosted nationally syndicated television entertainment shows. In maybe the biggest honor I ever received, I was selected by NASA to be “Chet The Astronaut” for the “Land The Shuttle” simulator at Space Center Houston. (All I can say there, is “Do as I say, not as I do.” I put that thing in the Everglades more often than not.) Most recently, I just wrapped up a decade as a television news director, during which time our teams distinguished themselves in holding the powerful accountable, achieving both critical and ratings success.

What does all that mean? It means I am profoundly grateful. It also means I’m ready for “next.” So here we are. Radically Rational. It’s an idea I woke up with in 2017. I scribbled “Radically Rational” on a piece of notebook paper and used a magnet to stick it on our refrigerator. I saw it every day, and it just would not leave me alone.

I am second in charge at Radically Rational, LLC. My wife, Jo (also known as BB), is the president. Clearly, I have failed in my attempt to sleep my way to the top of this organization.

I hope you will learn that I’m loyal as a Labrador. But I will admit that this doggie can bite every now and then. My promise to you? I will show up on time. I will go like hell. I will listen to you earnestly and attentively. I will hold myself accountable. I will never be the least bit hesitant to say, “I don’t know,” when I don’t.

But then I’ll try to find out. Let’s do it.