Brock Purdy, 49ers get long-awaited revenge with rout of Eagles

PHILADELPHIA – Brock Purdy didn’t need much of a reminder that this was where his improbable rookie run came to an end, his elbow in tatters, the dream of a Super Bowl appearance dashed by a 31-7 throttling in the 2022 NFC championship game.

“It was sort of on my mind,” the San Francisco 49ers quarterback said. “Yeah, I got hurt here. That was this year.”

What a difference less than 12 months can make.

The 49ers overcame a slow start Sunday to blow out the Philadelphia Eagles 42-19 to exact their much-anticipated revenge from last season’s postseason. These two teams being the top contenders in the NFC is something that hasn’t changed since that late January matchup, but the Niners dominated in the rematch.

“I think our team did a really good job of handling the noise – both in the stadium and (the media) making it a bigger deal than it was,” Niners tight end George Kittle (four catches, 68 yards) told USA TODAY Sports. “I think the biggest part of it was they’re the one seed and we’re playing catch-up. So to come in here and get a win was huge for us.”

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Offensively, the first quarter for the Niners could not have gone worse. They ran six plays over the course of consecutive three-and-outs. Purdy looked disrupted. Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick reintroduced himself with a sack on the second snap Purdy took, and Josh Sweat pressured him on the next play.

It was Reddick whose hit derailed the Niners in the championship game by causing Purdy’s elbow injury that required offseason surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

“That was a football play, it happened,” Purdy said. “He was trying to get the ball last game, that’s just how it all happened and so going into this game, they have so many other good players, we weren’t just, ‘Haason Reddick, we got to be careful.’

“Obviously, we honored and respected him and what he’s done, but was I so concerned about him in the game? No. It was what the whole defense was doing as a whole. He’s a great player, and that’s where we’re at with that.”

Brock Purdy, 49ers get long-awaited revenge with rout of Eagles

The arm looked fine Sunday. Purdy was 19 of 27 for 314 yards and four touchdowns; he finished the first quarter 0-for-4 with 0 passing yards. Over the final three quarters, the Niners responded – while answering the question of which team deserved to reside at the top of the NFC to this point of the 2023 campaign. San Francisco scored a touchdown on six consecutive drives, and the hometown fans headed home with five minutes left on the clock.

Having played on Thanksgiving for an extra three-day rest advantage over the Eagles, the Niners wore the Eagles down throughout the game. The improvements in the rushing attack – Christian McCaffrey scored a touchdown and ran for 93 yards on 17 attempts – and the broken tackles from Deebo Samuel, who had three total touchdowns (two receiving, one rushing), and Purdy were evidence.

Defensively, the Niners defense stalled the Eagles in the red zone and held them to a pair of first-quarter field goals. Entering the game, the Eagles had the best red-zone offense dating back to Week 5, scoring touchdowns on 21 of 30 opportunities (including 10 of 10 since Week 9).

“It was huge to hold (them) to two field goals and, despite all that, on the third possession we got the ball, they’d scored twice, but we were only down six,” Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “We just got one drive together and got the lead back, so it was a huge deal and a very good feeling.”

Shanahan said he saw from Purdy what the second-year signal-caller has put on tape in most of his 20 career starts in that he didn’t panic when the first quarter went haywire.

“I think that’s what I was most proud of,” Shanahan said. “Our guys were able to weather the storm.”

The Niners still trail the Eagles by one game in the conference standings, but they now own the head-to-head tiebreaker. And the Niners will be the biggest Cowboys fans next week when Philadelphia has to travel for a “Sunday Night Football” matchup against NFC East rival Dallas.

“I just loved how excited and ready our team was for this game,” Shanahan said. “When you are that amped up and ready to go – all the games are the same, but we understand how good they are. We understand their record. So that always makes it a little bit bigger. So our guys were really excited for the challenge.”

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