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49ers, Brock Purdy blitz Seahawks with second-half deluge


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The thunderheads have been in all places you regarded — however the least of them have been within the sky over Levi’s Stadium. The San Francisco 49ers opened the NFL postseason Saturday with a doomlike explosiveness: They have been a crackling electrical storm of a crew that supplied no respite. The Seattle Seahawks have been merely an excellent crew, loads good, but they obtained break up open on this first-round sport like a unadorned tree in a lightning subject, 41-23, merely unable to include the outbursts from one huge playmaker after one other. You wish to beat the 49ers wanting the Tremendous Bowl? Deliver your storm shelter.

That younger Brock Purdy, together with his Romeo face, half-smooth-cheeked boy and half-man, was the primary bolt hurler. He was all of 23 years previous and showing in his first playoff sport — and certainly 71-year-old defensive ball coach Pete Carroll would discover some strategy to misery him. However there was simply no strategy to do it. After a primary ball that sailed due to the rainwater on it and a few missed alternatives in a primary half that left the 49ers trailing 17-16, Purdy began firmly planting his ft and flashing the ball to an unlimited array of lengthy striders. There have been simply too many locations for Purdy to go together with the ball, too many gusting abilities on this large gale of a squad amassed by Kyle Shanahan.

Monitoring the multiplicity of the 49ers’ assault was a neck-wrenching activity: Whom do you comply with of their numerous actions? Was wideout Brandon Aiyuk their greatest risk, having had a 1,000-yard season? Or operating again Christian McCaffrey, with whom they don’t seem to be coincidentally on an 11-game profitable streak, given his 12 touchdowns in that stretch? Then once more, you did not dare take your eyes off Deebo Samuel or Elijah Mitchell, both, or George Kittle together with his seven scores in his earlier 4 video games. “Who do you cease?” Carroll requested rhetorically.

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However for all of that, the final word X-factor was Purdy, who grew to become the primary rookie to account for 4 touchdowns in a playoff sport by throwing for 3 scores (together with 332 yards) and dashing for one. He was so calm and certain but so charged together with his skill to shimmy out of bother and preserve performs alive together with his legs, then hit a person within the arms with an off-script strike. “His slitheriness,” Samuel referred to as it. “It form of makes us drained as a result of we have now to run round a lot.”

By all rights, the inexperience of Purdy, the final participant chosen in final 12 months’s draft, ought to have been an issue for the 49ers to work round after dropping Trey Lance after which Jimmy Garoppolo. As an alternative, his odd mixture of calm and swagger has solely weaponized all of them the extra. When McCaffrey went bowling off on that 68-yard run halfway by the primary quarter, it arrange the play that established Purdy’s presence within the sport. On second and aim, Purdy shoulder-twisted away from two fast-closing defenders, and as a substitute of panicking and going blind or sideways, he climbed up within the pocket and located an off-script throw to a slanting McCaffrey, who turned up into the top zone from three yards. Identical to that, with 5 minutes nonetheless to go within the opening quarter, the 49ers led 10-0.

Within the second half, by which he was a near-perfect 9-for-11 passing, Purdy made related performs repeatedly. The 49ers’ drive of seven minutes 45 seconds to open the third quarter acted like a punch within the mouth and returned the result in them at 23-17. After which they capitalized on a turnover.

On third and 14, 49ers defensive lineman Charles Omenihu walloped Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith and stripped him of the ball, and Nick Bosa coated it up. “The ball was on the bottom for some time, and I used to be like, ‘Please soar on it,’ ” Shanahan stated.

Once more, it was Purdy who tore open the scoreboard — after wriggling out of catastrophe. Because the 49ers have been poised on the Seahawks’ 7-yard line, linebacker Bruce Irvin clutched at Purdy’s jersey. Purdy spun, made a jagged transfer to his proper and slung it to Mitchell, hitting him sq. within the arms for the rating. (“It was my final learn,” Purdy stated.) On high of it, he accomplished a two-point conversion with a nifty pretend to McCaffrey adopted by a bullet to Kittle. Abruptly it become an unpleasant runaway.

For a final little bit of fairly execution, how about Purdy on that bare rollout to his left to seek out Samuel alone, with all the Seahawks protection and all the stadium considering all of the motion was on the alternative facet? Samuel hit his otherworldly acceleration for a 74-yard scoring play, arrange by a large block from Aiyuk that walled off the sideline.

Simply as thunderous for the 49ers have been their top-rated protection and brute operating sport (181 yards). “There are such a lot of playmakers, it does not even must be headliners,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk stated.

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There was one other character in all of this: the precise storms. The climate was a participant in its personal proper, looming over the lip of the stadium in clusters of darkish drifting clouds. At one level throughout pregame, the sector regarded as if it was coated by a bathe curtain. All week the “atmospheric river” took enormous dragon bites out of native coastlines, however the 49ers practiced outdoors in an exhibition of prideful, defiant hardihood. Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans bragged: “They did not let the weather of the climate dictate how they have been feeling. … It is a actually good signal when your guys are fabricated from the fitting stuff.” Kittle, the tight finish who went 4 days with out energy in his dwelling, truly stated after one midweek exercise, “We had enjoyable in the present day out within the rain and the chilly.”

The climate ebbed and surged by the hour. Area employees used large dryers and tarps to attempt to defend the pure grass, however a driving sideways rain pelted down for a lot of Saturday morning, changed by thick misting fog and shifting wind that blew the banners straight in a single route and left them limp in one other , just for patches of daylight to look. Uncertainty dominated on the whole lot from what kind of cleats to put on to stories that the groups must be ready for lightning to interrupt the fourth quarter. However, the 49ers faithfully pitched tents within the parking tons and flew bedraggled flags on metallic poles. Probably the most briskly promoting black-market gadgets have been plastic ponchos.

However by the ultimate quarter, the climate appeared only a gentle backdrop to the tempestuous assault of the 49ers themselves.

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