Mr. Relevant! Brock Purdy, 49ers outclass Seahawks after halftime
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Brock Purdy, for a living fact, is important. And, so far in his rookie NFL season, a fine pro quarterback.
The 262nd and final pick of last April’s NFL draft — derided annually as “Mr. Irrelevant” — added another impressive chapter to his storybook pro debut. Purdy threw for 332 yards and three touchdowns. no turnovers, plus ran for a touchdown, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 41-23 NFC wild-card round victory over the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.
The 23-year-old Purdy improved to 6-0 as a professional starter in his first playoff game. And his 332 yards were the most by a 49ers quarterback in the franchise’s 37 postseason games since Joe Montana pounded the Cincinnati Bengals defense for 357 yards in a 20-16 victory in Super Bowl XXIII 34 years ago.
No rookie NFL passer had ever accounted for four touchdowns in an NFL playoff game.
How important is this? And impressive?
“I have to say to all of our viewers out there — this is not normal,” gushed FOX studio analyst and four-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Terry Bradshaw afterward. “You can’t get the last player in the NFL draft, especially at quarterback, to come in and play with poise and have that ‘it’ factor.”
San Francisco trailed 17-16 at halftime, but dominated the second half – scoring 25 straight points until Seattle finally got on the board with a late TD in garbage time.
San Fran’s second half possessions ended in three touchdowns, then a field goal, then a first down and kneeling.
While Purdy wasn’t bad in the first half — 9 of 19 for 147 yards and a touchdown — he was outstanding by every barometer afterward, completing 9 of 11 for 185 yards and two scores, plus running for another touchdown.
A FOX interviewer moments later asked him on the court about his sudden stardom and how he might no longer be able to walk into a grocery store anonymously, etc.
“I mean, take it one day at a time. We have a goal to win it all. We’re in the tournament, so anything can happen,” Purdy said. “But, man, I have such a great team great – O-line, defense, receivers, across the board. It’s not like it’s a one-man show.”
It’s not really like that. The Niners missed the postseason on a 10-game streak solely because of their starting quarterback, who until six weeks ago was Jimmy Garoppolo, until he suffered a potential season-ending knee injury.
The 49ers defense, outside of occasional lapses in intermediate and deep pass coverage, is as good as any team in the playoffs — and in most cases miles better.
Offensively, this team became a big problem for everyone after Christian McCaffrey was acquired in late October from Carolina. One of the league’s leading dual-threat rushers, he had 119 yards against the Seahawks on just 15 carries, and added 17 yards and a touchdown on two catches.
Deebo Samuel was also in top form. The WR/RB caught six passes for 133 passes and a surprising, breakaway, 74-yard touchdown that broke the game open early in the fourth quarter. He added 32 yards on three carries.
The first quarter was all San Francisco, the second all Seattle.
With the rain coming down early, things couldn’t have gone much better for the home team.
The Niners’ offense scored on its first two possessions and the defense forced a pair of three-and-outs as San Fran jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the second quarter. Purdy was sharp and poised, and the 49ers’ rushing attack dominated, on those opening drive drives of 48 and 85 yards — which culminated, respectively, in a Robbie Gould 34-yard field goal and a three-yard pass from Purdy to McCaffrey.
With the Niners’ defense still largely containing Seattle star rookie Kenneth Walker III early in the second quarter, it was up to QB Geno Smith to take San Francisco’s league-best defense and start making a game of it for Seattle.
He did that, and more, completing all four of his passes in the second frame for 71 yards, including a nasty third-and-long into the hands of sprint receiver DK Metcalf down the left sideline for a 50 yard kick. That gave the Seahawks a shocking 14-13 lead with 5:01 left in the first half.
San Francisco eventually answered with a 49-yard drive for Gould’s 46-yard field goal to go up 16-14 with 13 seconds left in the first half.
Remember 13 seconds? Buffalo Bills fans certainly do. And just like the Bills did in last January’s eventual AFC playoff loss in Kansas City, the Seahawks took advantage of some strange defensive plays to kick a field goal with 0:00 left.
San Fran cornerback Jimmie Ward launched into a sliding Smith on what should have been a nine-yard halftime scramble to the Seattle 45. But the legal 15-yard roughing penalty against Ward gave Jason Seattle’s Myers hit a 56-yard field goal and he nailed it to give the Seahawks a 17-16 lead at the break.
Then the league broke and the Niners overwhelmed the Seahawks during the second half to advance to a division-round playoff date at home next weekend against one of the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Dallas Cowboys, depending on the results. on Sunday/Monday this weekend. .
John Kryk writes a weekly newsletter on NFL issues. You can see his live picks each week here first. You can have the newsletter automatically placed in your Wednesday inbox simply by signing up — for free — at https://torontosun.com/newsletters/
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