Film Review: Brock Purdy and the 49ers answer offseason questions in week 1

The San Francisco 49ers season opening performance against Pittsburgh was dominating.

Brock Purdy silenced his offseason critics. The second-year quarterback showed the anticipation that helped him lead the 49ers to the NFC championship game in 2022. He also answered the questions about the strength of his surgically repaired throwing arm.

Christian McCaffrey and the 49ers rushing attack ripped off several plays of five yards or more.

On the defensive side, new defensive coordinator Steve Wilks has his group ready to play. A rejuvenated pash rush coupled with a strong run defense held Pittsburgh to five consecutive three and outs to start the game. By the time the Steelers offense managed to get a first down the 49ers were up by 20 points.

After reviewing the coach’s film, here are the plays I found key to Sunday’s victory.

Brock Purdy’s anticipation

The ability to see the field and throw with anticipation is one of Brock Purdy’s greatest assets. Time and time again, the 49ers quarterback gets the ball out of his hands quickly to the receiver before he’s become open.

In the example below, Purdy is reading the Steelers linebacker (54). He uses his eyes to move the defender, and as soon as the linebacker opens his hips to the sideline Purdy rips a throw into the open hole to Deebo Samuel for a gain of 22.

Brock Purdy’s arm strength

Purdy’s arm strength has been a topic of conversation throughout the offseason. since the beginning of training camp. His touchdown throw to Brandon Aiyuk in the second quarter should put that discussion to rest.

Facing second and 12 from the 19, Purdy threw a dart to Brandon Aiyuk for their second touchdown of the day.

What makes Purdy’s throw impressive is his ability to throw it on a line twenty yards downfield from the opposite hash to the right sideline. The deep 20-yard out is a throw which shows how strong a quarterback’s arm is.

Although Aiyuk isn’t running an out route on this play, the throw from Purdy to hit the back shoulder here is similar.

Teamwork leads to touchdown for Christian McCaffrey

When Christian McCaffrey broke free on the second play after halftime, it took some help from his teammates to turn it into a 65-yard touchdown.

On a zone run to the left side, Purdy breaks through the hole and spins free. As he begins to get up the field, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk delivers a devastating block on a Steelers defensive back to spring McCaffrey down the sideline. Another receiver, Ray-Ray McCloud comes from the other side of the field to deliver another block, allowing McCaffrey to reach the endzone.

While many prefer deep passes, there is something about the teamwork involved in making a big run happen that makes it the most exciting play in football.

Run Defense

San Francisco’s run defense was a concern following lackluster performances during the preseason. However, with the starters all back on the field and a game plan to work with they took care of business at the point of attack.

Free agent acquisition Clelin Ferrell had a solid training camp. One of his biggest strengths was his ability to set the edge. This showed up on the Steelers first possession of the game. Pittsburgh tries to run a jet sweep at Ferrell who shoots up field and nearly gets the tackle for a big loss. Although he doesn’t bring the runner down, Ferrell holds on long enough to allow his teammates to come over and finish the play.

On the following Steelers possession Fred Warner shoots the gap, levelling Steelers running back Najee Harris for a loss.

While the tackle from Warner is terrific, this play is set up by Javon Kinlaw. The defensive tackle eats up two Steelers offensive linemen which opens the lane for Warner to make the stop.

This article has 15 Comments

  1. This blog is great! Thanks for revitalizing and making it a regular must visit venue for Niners’ followers.
    Your commentary. insights, and analysis, even when I may not agree, are always well reasoned and
    thoroughly thought through, as is the one above. Thanks Jack.

  2. Jack,
    Hargrave, Armstead and Kinlaw all looked good versus the run. Who else played inside on Sunday and how did they look? Also have you heard whether Moody will take over the KO duties this week? Having Moody KO should take care of the 49ers weakness on special teams, kick coverage.

  3. Based on my calculations that throw to Aiyuk was about 39 yards on a rope. Not bad for a kid with no arm!

    1. Gav,
      Not only did the pass have good velocity but it was thrown to the right side of the field which he did not do that often last year.

  4. What makes Purdy’s throw impressive is his ability to throw it on a line twenty yards downfield from the opposite hash to the right sideline. The deep 20-yard out is a throw which shows how strong a quarterback’s arm is.

  5. I kinda disagree on the Kinlaw play. Kinlaw didn’t do anything wrong but giving him credit for eating up 2 Steelers O-linemen is not right either. That play was more about terrible play from the Steelers LG. Kinlaw tried to split a double team. He didn’t necessarily intentionally engage and hold in 2 O-Lineman to keep the LBers clean. The LG should have helped on Kinkaws outside should then disengaged to get to the 2nd level. He didn’t execute that block the way you’d expect. That play was more about poor play and/or poor play design from the Steelers.

  6. Hey, Everybody. That was a good game. It is a sign of good things to come. But it is only the first game and I know that there will be tougher teams with smarter coaching staffs down the road that we will have to deal with. If – and when- we beat some of these teams will determine how tough we really are. We are NOT a Cinderella team. We’ve proven for years since 2019 that we are not a one-hit wonder. Our defense has the strong potential to at least match the 2019 team that was winning consistently. Brock Purdy is a little more accurate than Jimmy G. Don’t get me wrong, because we did win more with Jimmy than we did without him. But I saw Brock make tough throws that resulted in first downs or touchdowns where Jimmy would have thrown an interception. Onto the Rams. Hey, KS! Do the right side of the o-line a huge favor and and them some help! please! Because I personally do not think Colton or Spencer can handle Aaron Donald by themselves. Get George Kittle or Kyle J to help out. If you don’t, it will be a long day for Brock.

    1. Yes, the double and triple teams the Steelers used against Bosa really helped them, NOT. Offensive football is 10 on 11 and now you want to make it 9on 11. Which 2 players would you select to go unblocked?

  7. Stephen A on ESPN short while ago put SF #1 and Dallas #2 on his weekly “A List”. What a game that’s going to be in a few weeks between the two. Just hope Purdy survives that defensive line of the Cowboys. It looked awesome Sunday.

  8. The Oline has some formidable games coming up. They face Aaron Donald on Sunday and the C’boys Micah Parsons/DeMarcus Lawrence as well. The Oline will need to bring their A+ game.

    While Shanahan believes that McKivitz will get better with each game, I hope that he will give McKivitz help against top-end Dline players. Parsons was a wreaking-ball against the NYG’s.
    I’d hate to see him repeat that effort against the 49ers.

  9. BP looks more and more like Joe.
    Nothing flashy but very efficient and like Jack says, great anticipation!
    Aiyuk’s 2nd is close to “the Catch”!

    1. Good call Dee. I’ve noticed the same thing (kind of nervous to say/ jinx it). It all starts with vision, the
      kid SEES the field, all 22. Short area quickness and pocket presence. The spin move to evade a rusher, short sprint to the left, great feet and a quick throw for a first down. He seems to set his feet instantly, ready to throw every time. Puts the ball on a dime. That second T.D. to B.A. was a thing of beauty!

  10. All we need for work is a reliable smart phone and an Internet connection, as well as a responsible individual. For all students, regardless of age, whether they vs-61 are in school, recently graduated, or unemployed.
    Detail Here——————————————>>>

Comments are closed.