On Sunday, January 29th, 2023 the San Francisco 49ers closely witnessed both of their suited - up quarterbacks in Brock Purdy as well as Josh Johnson have to be led to the San Francisco 49ers sideline with different injuries during the NFC Championship game versus the Philadelphia Eagles. They could not resist to feel hopeless regarding their chances of a trip to Super Bowl LVII. The San Francisco 49ers could also not help but feel like they too had just received an NFL season - ending dagger to the heart.
"We didn't really get to see all the 49er football that we wanted to put out there on tape," the San Francisco 49ers tight end, George Kittle, explained. "But life just kind of punches you in the face sometimes."
49ers Quarterback Injuries
The San Francisco 49ers lost Purdy to a right elbow injury during their 6th - offensive snap of the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles. Following Brock being considered to be questionable to return to NFL playoff game action, Purdy had no choice but to return under center during the 3rd - quarter of this match - up when his back - up quarterback replacement and the San Francisco 49ers overall 4th - string quarterback, Josh Johnson, was ruled out of game due to the NFL’s concussion protocol when the back of Johnson’s head slammed against the turf while being tackled in this extremely important NFC postseason game.
The 49ers think that Purdy endured a severe injury to his ulnar collateral ligament, and that Brock will have to undergo a very decisive MRI on Monday, January 30th, 2023. The ultimate hope for the San Francisco 49ers was that the UCL injury for Purdy is not a ruptured ulnar collateral ligament which would necessitate much longer than the average 6 - week recovery as opposed to the long and agonizing recovery time most likely accompanied by a surgical procedure.
"My arm felt like it stretched out," the San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Brock Purdy, proclaimed. "I felt really just like a lot of shocks all over from my elbow down to my wrist, front and back. Just pain really, all over."
Those San Francisco 49er injuries were just the latest as well as the final puncture wounds leading up to the end of the San Francisco 49ers 2022 - 2023 NFL season in which their QB room was plagued by various ailments for the majority of the last year.
The San Francisco 49ers lost their original starting quarterback, Trey Lance, to a broken right ankle during the Niners’ 2022 - 2023 NFL regular - season week - 2 game as well as their veteran back - up quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to a broken left foot during the San Francisco 49ers’ week - 13 match - up.
That left the San Francisco 49ers relying on Brock Purdy, who was the final pick of the 2022 NFL draft (Mr. Irrelevant), to have to lead the Niners back to the Super Bowl once again. In Purdy’s 1st - 7 NFL starts at quarterback, Brock seemed more than qualified of doing just that as the San Francisco 49ers won each of those football games that included a pair of NFL postseason battles, but Purdy never really got all that much of an opportunity to complete his work this season in Sunday afternoon’s 31 to 7 defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Purdy endured his right elbow injury with only 7 - minutes and 3 - seconds remaining in the 1st - quarter of last Sunday afternoon’s NFC championship game. When the San Francisco 49ers were facing a 2nd - down - and - 6 - yards - to - go scenario at the 50 - yard line, Brock dropped back to pass the ball as he was seeking to find his wide receiver, Brandon Aiyuk, down the left - side of the field.
With a clean pocket and plenty of time to pass, the San Francisco 49ers believed it was about to be a big downfield play. The Philadelphia Eagles aggressive pass - rusher, Haason Reddick, crushed the hopes and dreams of all of the San Francisco 49ers and their fans when Reddick raced past the San Francisco 49ers tight end, Tyler Kroft, and hit Purdy’s upper body and throwing arm hard as he attempted to pass which jarred the ball loose.
The ball then bounced off of Brock’s elbow, and then it flew forward to the Philadelphia Eagles’ 44 - yard line, where the Philadelphia Eagles’ defensive tackle, Linval Joseph, recovered the ball for a game - changing turnover. The play was initially ruled as an incomplete pass, but after a Philadelphia Eagles’ challenge the call was eventually overturned and ruled a fumble.
Purdy then went over to the San Francisco 49ers’ sideline, and he attempted to throw a few practice tosses and immediately accepted the fact that something was very wrong with his right arm. Purdy hurriedly over to his head coach in Kyle Shanahan that he was quite incapable of making any passes further than approximately 5 - 10 yards downfield.
"He went and kept throwing and realized he couldn't, so there was really no discussion after that," the San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed. "He couldn't throw."
So, then the San Francisco 49ers were forced to turn to Johnson, who was making his 1st - NFL postseason appearance since he entered the National Football League way back in the year of 2009. When Josh completed a 9 - yard pass attempt to the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Deebo Samuel, he then became the 3rd - oldest quarterback (36 - years and 259 - days) in the Super Bowl era at the time of his 1st - career NFL playoff pass attempt.
Johnson completed the 1st - half of the game, but he had to ultimately leave the contest early on during the 3rd - quarter. With 12 - minutes and 36 - seconds left in the 3rd - quarter of last Sunday’s NFC championship game, Johnson threw down the right side toward his wide receiver Samuel, but he was hit roughly by the Philadelphia Eagles tackle, Ndamukong Suh, as the ball hit the turf as an incomplete pass.
Johnson got back up on his feet, and he appeared to be ready to keep on going, but the referee requested an NFL concussion protocol check. Josh then had to head over to the blue medical tent on the San Francisco 49ers’ sideline. Johnson then made his way in to the San Francisco 49ers’ locker room to be receive more in - depth medical attention.
San Francisco 49ers’ chances of a comeback at that point basically came to an end as Johnson left his team down 2 - touchdowns and having them resort back to playing their injured quarterback in Purdy, who was pretty much incapable of throwing the ball past 5 or 10 - yards.
"How does it feel to lose the NFC Championship Game because I don't have a quarterback?" said the San Francisco 49ers tight end, George Kittle. "Pretty shitty, to be honest."
Adjusted Game Plan
Upon returning to the ball game, Purdy tossed a short screen - pass to the San Francisco 49ers superstar running back, Christian McCaffrey, for a gain of only 3 - yards. Brock attempted just 1 - more pass which was a short dump - off to his tight end, George Kittle, for a minimal gain of only 1 - yard. Purdy finished the game going 4 - of - 4 for just 23 - yards with a dismal average of 1.5 air yards per attempt. That just so happens to be the lowest average by a starting quarterback in an NFL playoff game since the statistic was first begun being tracked back in 2006, and it was the 2nd - lowest by a starting NFL quarterback throughout this NFL season.
According to the San Francisco 49ers head coach, Kyle Shanahan, they went back to Purdy even with his incapability to throw the ball downfield due to the fact that they could at least stick to their normal run game. At that point in the game, the San Francisco 49ers also intended to work in McCaffrey as a quarterback in the wildcat offensive formation too. That ultimately never happened because the Philadelphia Eagles knew that Purdy could throw well, and they started to rush a total of 6 - defenders on their defensive line while loading up the box in order to stop the San Francisco 49ers’ run game.
"It's unfortunate that it happened the way it did today because I feel like all those guys deserve a good shot," the San Francisco 49ers running back, Christian McCaffrey, mentioned. "We all do. But again, this is a tough game and sometimes it doesn't go your way."
For Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers, it was an extremely frustrating finish to a wild ride of an NFL season that had placed them in their 3rd - NFC championship game over the course of the past 4 - years. The San Francisco 49ers could not help but feel as if they did not get to give it their best shot at the Philadelphia Eagles football team that the Niners genuinely and truly believed that they could beat this year.
"Coming into an environment like this locked in ready to roll and then an injury happens and then the way the game goes just totally shifts in a different direction," the San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy goes on to say. "It's just all these emotions, and again, I come back to I want it for these guys, the older guys more than anybody. As a rookie, you can say you've got your whole career, but these guys have told me it's rare to get here. So, it's hard. It's not easy."
Purdy’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- PFWA All - Rookie Team Selection (2022)
- Mr. Irrelevant Draft Selection (2022)
- 2 - Time First - Team All - Big 12 Selection (2020, 2021)
- Second - Team All - Big 12 Selection (2019)
Johnson’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- XFL Passer Rating Leader (2020)
- 4 - Time All - PFL Selection (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- 2 - Time PFL Offensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2005, 2006)
- 3 - Time I - AA All - American Selection (2005, 2006, 2007)
Garoppolo’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- 2 - Time Super Bowl Champion (XLIX, LI)
- Walter Payton Award Winner (2013)
- OVC Offensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2013)
- First - Team All - OVC Selection (2013)
- Second - Team All - OVC Selection (2012)
Lance’s Football Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- 2 - Time FCS Champion (2018, 2019)
- 2020 FCS Championship Game MVP Award Winner
- Walter Payton Award Winner (2019)
- Jerry Rice Award Winner (2019)
- MVFC Offensive Player of the Year Award Winner (2019)
- First - Team All - MVFC Selection (2019)
“49ers QBs Brock Purdy, Josh Johnson go down in loss vs. Eagles”, Nick Wagoner, espn.com, Sunday, January 29, 2023.
“Brock Purdy”, pro-football-reference.com, Sunday, January 29, 2023.
“Josh Johnson”, pro-football-reference.com, Sunday, January 29, 2023.
“Jimmy Garoppolo”, pro-football-reference.com, Sunday, January 29, 2023.
“Trey Lance”, pro-football-reference.com, Sunday, January 29, 2023.