Quarterback injuries derail 49ers offense in 31-7 loss to Eagles

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) holds the ball as Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Avonte Maddox (29) and defensive tackle Fletcher Cox (91) try to bring him down during the second half of the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

For the second consecutive year the San Francisco 49ers season came to an end one step short of the Super Bowl. A 31-7 blowout loss sending them into an offseason which will be full of questions, particularly at the quarterback position.

The game was over almost as soon as it began. Brock Purdy was forced to the sideline with an elbow injury at the end of San Francisco’s first possession and an offensive which had averaged over 30 points the previous 12 weeks was unable to move the ball.

Philadelphia will face the winner of the AFC Championship game between Cincinnati and Kansas City on the NFL’s biggest stage in Glendale, Az on February 12.

Here are the answers to the five questions I asked prior to the game:

1.) Is Brock Purdy ready to make history? Who knows?

Purdy looked good, hitting his first two throws. Then disaster struck when Hassan Reddick beat backup Tyler Kroft around the right side on a play action pass play.

As Purdy reared back to throw the ball Reddick hit his right arm jarring the ball loose. Purdy’s arm then hit the ball forward and the fumble was recovered by Philadelphia defensive tackle Linval Joseph.

The fumble ended up not being a big deal when San Francisco’s defense forced a quick three and out.

When Reddick hit Purdy, his arm bent back and full force moving forward, it injured the quarterback’s elbow to the point he couldn’t throw the ball. Purdy left the game, only returning after Josh Johnson was lost to a concussion on the opening possession of the second half.

Unable to really throw, Purdy was limited to handing the ball off and a couple of short throws.

2.) Will the 49ers find success on the ground? YES

Christian McCaffrey finished with 84 yards, 83 of which came following the injury to Purdy.

Trailing by seven midway through the second quarter, McCaffrey scored the lone 49ers touchdown with a 23-yard touchdown run. This was no ordinary run. McCaffrey bounced off at least three Eagles defenders before sprinting into the endzone.

While we are talking about McCaffrey, let’s take a moment to appreciate what his addition near the trade deadline meant for this team. He made play after play to help transform an offense which had struggled to start the season.

The touchdown drive against Philadelphia was a microcosm of McCaffrey’s impact. The running back accounted for 44 of San Francisco’s 46 yards, a pair of receptions garnering 18 yards prior to the scoring burst.

3.) Will the 49ers receivers pile up yards after catch? NO

Without Purdy the 49ers receivers didn’t stand a chance in the first half, and for much of the second their quarterback couldn’t throw. Brandon Aiyuk’s only target came on the first possession of the game.

After Philadelphia scored to make it 14-7, Deebo Samuel opened the ensuing 49ers possession by catching a quick slant from Johnson. It looked like he might go for a big play, but Eagles safety Marcus Epps was able to get just enough of Samuel to bring him down. That’s as close as San Francisco got to making a big play in the passing game.

4.) Can the 49ers defense force Jalen Hurts to beat them? NO

San Francisco’s defense made some plays, but they were their own worst enemy. Six first downs for Philadelphia came off defensive penalties, extending drives.

With the game tied at seven midway through the second quarter, the 49ers gave the Eagles three first downs on a variety of penalties. The drive ultimately ended in a touchdown. Then, after a Josh Johnson fumble, a facemask penalty by Dre Greenlaw wiped out a tackle for loss. Boston Scott ran for a touchdown on the next play to give Philadelphia a 21-7 lead.

Philadelphia pounded the 49ers defense with 148 yards on 44 rushing attempts. Three Eagles, Hurts, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott ran for touchdowns.

5.) Can the 49ers secondary keep everything in front of them? NO

Philadelphia only got behind the 49ers secondary once, but that’s all it took.

Facing fourth and three at the San Francisco 35 on their opening possession, Philadelphia decided to go for it. Pressure from the 49ers front flushed Hurts out to his left and he lofted a deep ball down the left sideline to DeVonta Smith. Smith had gotten behind the coverage of Jimmie Ward and laid out to make the 29-yard reception. Two plays later the Eagles had their first lead of the game.

Bonus Question: Who wins the turnover battle? Philadelphia

San Francisco entered the game having turned the ball over just six times in their previous 12 games. On Sunday, they coughed it up three times. A pair of fumbles by the quarterbacks and a late fumble by Deebo Samuel long after the game had been decided.

Of the three, the only one that proved costly was Josh Johnson’s fumble late in the first half. With under two minutes left before halftime Johnson couldn’t hold onto the shotgun snap. Philadelphia recovered and for all intents and purposes put the game away when Boston Scott scored from ten yards out.


49ers 20 Eagles 16

This article has 21 Comments

  1. Purdy may have a UCL injury. Gawd, but can things get much worse for the Niners??? If he has to undergo surgery, he could be out for much if not all of the next season. I joke about the 49ers being cursed. But at times it sure seems that they are.

    Jack, how was Kyle Shanahan today? He’s taking a lot of heat on this blog.

    1. He’s taking heat only from people who are clueless. He’s taking no heat from anybody who matters.

      1. No argument here…no Jimmy Garoppolo to throw darts at?…let’s blame Kyle….no, let’s blame the players….

  2. Thanks Jack.
    I actually believe that the 49ers played a good game. The offense was not the same after Purdy went out and Johnson kept the ship upright until he was injured.

    The 49ers defense didn’t give up the big plays, but hurt themselves with bone-head penalties which gave Philly too many opportunities.

    Also, can the 49ers make a concerted effort to sign a place-kicker that can actually kick the ball into the endzone? Our Special Teams have been bad this year and not having a kicker to consistently put the ball in the endzone only heightens the problem.

    But, I’m thankful that the 49ers gave me an exciting and almost fairy-tale season.
    Not the ending I wanted, but a great year nonetheless.

  3. Quality HCs are very few and very far between in the NFL. Coaches who can consistently get you to the playoffs are a rare commodity. So can we just stop with all of the Grant Cohn crap of get rid of KS. If I had one criticism of KS today its that after Johnson went down I believe we would have been better off with CMC running a wildcat QB system. I think Mason at RB and CMC at QB would have faced a completely unprepaired Eagle D and I think CMC would have been more of a passing threat than an injured Purdy. Just a thought. If they had a wildcat package (you think they would with only one backup QB available)

    1. I don’t know many asking for Shanny to get fired to be honest. They just want him to do better. Some real questionable stuff today.

      Not sure who drew up the scheme to block the edge rusher with the backup TE, but to do it a couple times and seeing it fail miserably each time was a real head scratcher. On the flip side would you recommend someone block Bosa with a back up TE?

      As was the lack of foresight in not wasting a timeout to see if a challenge should be made on the Smith non-catch.

      As was risking a turnover with a QB who had zero shot at the end of the half instead of killing the clock and see if you can put together a plan B at halftime.

      Just real crap and hard to watch because despite the lack of a quarterback this team was competing.

      And the injury to 49ers quarterbacks over and over again is no fluke at this point. It’s an organizational decision that they’re not going to worry too much about pass protection, to the detriment of the most important position on the field.

      Worst part is, we now hope it’s not a Tommy John surgery required for Purdy and more extensive rehab that would ensue. Hopefully the kid is ready to go without surgery. Otherwise I’m just as pissed as I was when Shanny kept running Lance right into the teeth of the defense.

      He can do whatever he wants and of course he’s one of the top coaches in this league. But his flaws are quite glaring in these big games too. Moreover, I’d be scared if my son was playing quarterback for this guy.

      1. i absolutely agree with everything you wrote. i think Shanny is a very good coach but after this game he needs to do some soul searching .doing the same thing over and over again is not getting it done

  4. I’m thankful for the team that we have and the great success they had this year. I’m already looking forward to next year and excited to see if the team can get back to the conference championship game for the 4th time in the last 5 years. Also I hope both Purdy and Johnson don’t have long lasting injuries.

  5. Chiefs Win!!! Andy Reid the genius…..Wait a minute wasn’t he the guy who couldn’t win the big one.

  6. Painful loss for Cincinnati. I’m trying to feel bad for Cin’ Ossai who hit Mahomes when he was already out of bounds. But I just can’t. Football players need to use their heads/intelligence on the field.

    Just like my old football coach used to say, “I want you guys to be fast, strong and quick. And I’m talking about your brain.”
    Haha, it was true 45 yrs ago and still holds true today.

    1. Honestly the way he was crying his eyes out on the sidelines was hard to watch. I feel bad for him regardless. Watching his shoulder pads move up and down as he’s letting out each sob was a bit much for me. Real shame that he has to think about letting his team down the entire offseason. He had an otherwise great game too. I was a little perturbed that a teammate was on the bench next to him but didn’t seem to care enough to console him and let the coaches do it. But maybe he did while the cameras weren’t on him, can’t be sure.

      1. GN,
        I hear you. But I’ve always had issues with players who cause self inflicted wounds. And a player losing their sense of control that hurts the team is very frustrating.

        Greenlaw did the exact same thing earlier in the quarter that gave a Eagles and first down. These type of mind-numbing plays hurt the entire team because of lack of control.

        I don’t like it when players fumble or drop an easy pass etc. But these mistakes happen inside the field of play. Committing penalties outside the field of play is a big problem with me.

        1. AES,
          I agree but there is just something about watching a grown man sob publicly that gets to me. I don’t know if anyone will remember this but it reminded me of Freddy Patek.

          1. You are right, Coach.
            I guess that I’m just old school. I’m fine with football players crying after a big win. Lyle Alzado, T.O. and Vernon Davis just to name a few. Crying because of a bone-head unnecessary mistake that hurts the team doesn’t stir much sympathy for me.
            But that’s just me.

            I would have been very upset had Trent Williams been disqualified in the first half for his unsportsman penalty. Luckily he was tossed when the game was already out of reach late in the 4th QTR.

  7. A little advice to those of us who like to watch youtube video reactions to 9er games. Skip G. Cohn’s reaction pieces they are like listening to a pro wrestler bloviate. Go straight to David Lombardi’s pieces he is a true professional a lot like Jack.

  8. See you all next season! Another heartbreaking loss but it was still a great year when your team is in the championship games especially with a 7th-round rookie QB! One thing that cannot be denied though, we saw what happens when you put a QB that can play at a high-level in that offense. And when you have an Oline that cannot consistently protect.
    Take care all!

  9. NFL officiating is terrible. Everyone can see it. My personal thought is the league makes it too complicated so very easy calls become difficult. BUT can we talk about the broadcasters. They are awful. On the 2nd Sanders TD the broadcasters went on an on about how Kelce is so athletic and he can pull so he’s just like a fullback on the field. Kelce pulled and didn’t block anyone on that play. He quite literally didn’t touch another player on the field. Sanders scored because Eagles caught 49ers in a bad defense and the RDE didn’t set the edge. Kelce did nothing. Guys who talk to hear themselves talk are annoying.

    1. Big year followed by a bad game. First of all congrats niners on a hard fought year, overcoming a lot of adversity to get to the NFC title game with a third string guy. Brock punched way beyond his weight, good job I hope we see him next year as a very good #2 back. Time to go Trey. Too much to review but who was McGlinchey blocking on Reddicks elbow injuring sack?

  10. The defense was sabotaged by the inability of the offense to make first downs resulting in the D being on the field way to much. The time of possession favored the Eagles by something like 15 minute equal to an entire quarter. 7 Eagle first downs from penalties many of which were blown calls or ticky tack basketball like calls. Bill Walsh used to say that the team needed to beat the other team, the bounce of the ball and the referees. 11 9ers penalties to the Eagles 4 pretty much ensured a loss.

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