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Home » 49ers QB Brock Purdy Suffers Elbow Injury but Plays On

49ers QB Brock Purdy Suffers Elbow Injury but Plays On

30 January 2023, Monday
As the San Francisco 49ers looked on helplessly, quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson exited the field with injuries during Sunday's showdown against the Philadelphia Eagles, leaving their chances of reaching Super Bowl LVII in doubt. The 49ers were dealt a sizeable setback as a result, signifying the potential end of their season.

The 49ers' quarterback woes were far from over in the 2021 season as they were plagued by various ailments to the position group. Starting quarterback Trey Lance suffered a broken right ankle in Week 2 and veteran backup Jimmy Garoppolo fell to a broken left foot in Week 13, leaving San Francisco to rely on rookie Josh Purdy, the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft, to lead them. Purdy had led the Niners to seven consecutive victories and two playoff wins, but lasted only one quarter in Sunday's 31-7 loss against the Eagles. The injuries to Lance and Garoppolo were two of the final hits to the quarterback room, making the prospects of a return to the Super Bowl an unlikely one.

With 7:03 remaining in the first quarter, Eagles pass-rusher Haason Reddick was able to get past Niners tight end Tyler Kroft and hit Niners quarterback, Nick Purdy. Purdy, who had dropped back to throw to wideout Brandon Aiyuk, was unable to complete the pass as the ball jarred loose and flew forward to Philadelphia's 44. Eagles defensive tackle Linval Joseph was able to recover this ball. Following a Philadelphia challenge, Purdy told Niners head coach, Shanahan, that he was unable to make any throws further than 5-10 yards. It was clear from there that Purdy had sustained some sort of injury.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was unable to throw during the team's playoff game, leading them to turn to veteran backup CJ Johnson. Johnson, who was making his first playoff appearance since 2009, completed a 9-yard pass to receiver Deebo Samuel, making him the third oldest (36 years, 259 days) quarterback in the Super Bowl Era at the time of his first playoff pass attempt. “He went and kept throwing and realized he couldn't, so there was really no discussion after that,” Shanahan said. “He couldn't throw.”

Jimmy Garoppolo was in for Johnson for the majority of the second half after Johnson left the game early in the third quarter due to a concussion check. With 12:36 left, Johnson threw down the right side for wideout Samuel, but was hit by Eagles tackle Ndamukong Suh, resulting in an incomplete pass. Johnson got up, appeared ready to keep playing, but was sent to the blue medical tent before eventually heading to the locker room to be evaluated further. The 49ers' chances of a comeback were all but buried with Johnson out of the game, as they were down two touchdowns and had to turn to Purdy, who was largely unable to throw.

George Kittle gave a candid response when asked about losing the NFC Championship game due to a lack of a quarterback. "Pretty lousy, honestly", he said.

When he was returned to the game, quarterback Will Purdy made a short screen pass to running back Christian McCaffrey, which gained 3 yards. The only other pass he attempted was a short dump off to Kittle, gaining only 1 yard. Purdy ended the game with 4 out of 4 completions, for a total of 23 yards and an average of 1.5 air yards per attempt. This was the most miniscule average of any starting quarterback in a playoff game since 2006, and the second lowest by a starting quarterback this season.

Despite being unable to throw the ball, the San Francisco 49ers stuck with quarterback Wilton Purdy during their match against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Niners hoped to work Christian McCaffrey in as a wildcat quarterback, yet that plan didn't come to fruition as the Eagles knew Purdy couldn't throw and consequently loaded the box to stop the run. McCaffrey expressed his disappointment in the situation, stating that all of them deserved a good shot, but that the game of football can be difficult and not always go as planned.

Tension between the Niners and Eagles reached an all-time high with around four minutes left in the game. With Philadelphia leading 31-7 and San Francisco desperately trying to make a comeback, a physical altercation occurred after McCaffrey's six-yard run. Left tackle Trent Williams was seen dragging Eagles' safety K'Von Wallace out of the skirmish and tossing him to the ground. This led to the both sides exchanging pushing and shoving, forcing both benches to empty.

For Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers, the ending to their season was incredibly frustrating. In their third NFC Championship Game appearance in four years, the Niners believed they could have beaten the Philadelphia Eagles, but their hopes were dashed after officials ejected Williams and Wallace following a heated altercation.

Purdy, a rookie, was sad for his veteran teammates, who understand just how rare it is to make it to the Championship. “Coming into an environment like this, all locked in and ready to go, and then an injury and a shifts the game in a whole different direction. It's just so many emotions," he said. "I really want it for the older guys; as a rookie, you can always say you have your whole career ahead of you, but the older guys know this doesn't come around that often. So, it's hard. It's not easy.
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