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Brock Purdy’s 49ers playoff debut was good, however not so good as stats counsel

Two issues may be concurrently true: Brock Purdy is obliterating expectations for a seventh-round draft rookie, and this model of the 49ers is among the most quarterback-proof groups in current reminiscence.

The mixed consequence: In six of the seven video games Purdy has performed, the 49ers have scored greater than 30 factors. Within the one recreation that they failed to take action, Purdy was too harm to even throw in practices main as much as the sport.

Kyle Shanahan is doing among the greatest work in his profession as a play designer and play caller, getting receivers extensive open. In opposition to the Seahawks within the wild-card spherical, Purdy’s completion proportion over anticipated (CPOE) was -0.5 — that means although he threw for 3 touchdowns and ran for an additional, he wasn’t essentially outperforming his circumstances. When Purdy will get the ball to his playmakers, the 49ers have the perfect assortment of yards-after-catch (YAC) specialists within the league. And to go together with this QB-friendly offense, the 49ers have the NFL’s greatest protection.

Traditionally, groups with elite defenses have simply wanted recreation managers, just like the 2000 Ravens with Trent Dilfer or the 2002 Buccaneers with Brad Johnson. However being a real shutdown protection on this period of passing and the growing checklist of defensive penalties is troublesome. In opposition to the Seahawks on Saturday, the 49ers’ protection and Purdy had been each off for a lot of the sport—and San Francisco nonetheless dominated.

Even with the Seahawks centered on stopping the run, the 49ers rushed for 110 yards within the first half. To cease the run, the Seahawks used extra base personnel (three defensive linemen, 4 linebackers, 4 defensive backs) and bought one other defender within the field by enjoying two-deep protection much less incessantly than regular. Seattle as an alternative performed extra conventional spot drop coverages, which Shanahan exploited with play motion.

13:14 remaining within the second quarter, first-and-10

The 49ers spammed this route mixture that includes a deep nook and dig route all through the sport. Based on TruMedia, Purdy was 3-of-4 for 99 yards when concentrating on the dig route, however he additionally checked the ball down as soon as when the dig was extensive open.

Often, the 49ers would run this mix with a excessive crosser, however on this recreation, they’d the bottom receiver run a dig as an alternative.

The Seahawks ran a spot drop Cowl 3 with three deep defenders and 4 beneath defenders. By operating the dig route as an alternative of the crosser, Brandon Aiyuk shortly bought depth and bought as far behind the beneath defenders as he may earlier than breaking inside. If he had been to cross the sphere earlier, the beneath defenders might need been in a position to recuperate and really feel him operating into their zones.

The Seahawks’ beneath defenders with their eyes on the quarterback had no thought the place Aiyuk was as a result of Aiyuk bought a lot depth. As quickly as Aiyuk crossed the spotlighted beneath defender, he had an enormous void within the protection to run into. All Purdy needed to do was anticipate that window opening up and ship the ball.

Purdy threw the ball earlier than Aiyuk cleared the hook defender and hit him in stride.

The worry of the run brought on the Seahawks to play this model of protection, and so they did not regulate quick sufficient. This idea labored so properly that the 49ers used it within the two-minute drill with out play motion and nonetheless hit Aiyuk for a 31-yard acquire.

With Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle, a brief examine down can flip into an explosive play. Since Shanahan was employed because the 49ers’ head coach, the 49ers lead the league in YAC per reception. They purposely scout and search for gamers who can create after the catch, and Shanahan is adept at creating area beneath for his YAC monsters to work. Based on TruMedia, Purdy ranks eighth amongst 39 certified QBs within the share of his passing yards that come after the catch (51.4 %), and Jimmy Garoppolo ranks first (59.4 %).

11:45 remaining within the fourth quarter, first-and-10

On this play-action idea, the Seahawks had been as soon as once more of their base 3-4 with a security rotating into the field. As an alternative of a dig, the 49ers had Samuel run a low crosser and Kittle run a excessive crosser behind him. This idea was designed to excessive/low the weak facet of the protection and get the ball to Samuel beneath with area.

Each the weakside linebacker, Tanner Muse, and powerful security, Ryan Neal, bit onerous on the play-action faux. As soon as Muse realized it was a faux, he desperately tried to seize Samuel earlier than Samuel may cross his face, however his try was futile. Samuel caught the ball with no defender inside 10 yards of him on the 49ers’ 34-yard line and ran the remainder of the way in which for a 74-yard landing.

On a throw-by-throw stage, Purdy did not play notably properly however settled down within the second half after at first showing nervous, which is anticipated for any quarterback beginning his first playoff recreation. It may have been the rain, however Purdy’s ball placement was off, he did not see open receivers and he was fidgety within the pocket. His move score on third down was 67.1. And the 49ers nonetheless scored 41 factors.

15:00 remaining within the fourth quarter, second-and-11

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the 49ers had been solely up six factors. Shanahan referred to as one in every of his signature shot performs: leak. Though the deep route normally comes from a participant lined up away from the play faux, this model featured deep route on the identical facet because the play-action faux.

Rookie cornerback Tariq Woolen bit onerous on the play faux regardless that he was liable for protecting deep, leaving Jauan Jennings open down the sideline.

The free security in the course of the sphere was the one defender who may have made a play on the ball. Purdy ought to have thrown the ball down the sideline however as an alternative led Jennings inside, which allowed the free security to nearly make a play on the ball or put a giant hit on Jennings.

In the long run, the move was accomplished, but it surely’s particulars like this that Purdy will wish to iron out earlier than the divisional spherical of the playoffs.

Purdy’s capability to play out of construction has been a transparent benefit over Garoppolo. Together with the playoffs, on dropbacks through which he took greater than three seconds to throw, Purdy ranks fourth in success fee (47.1 %). Garoppolo’s success fee on such dropbacks (35.1 %) ranks twenty fourth.

Nonetheless, Purdy has to handle the pocket higher than he did in opposition to the Seahawks. He might need had bother seeing over the road, however he must step up within the pocket extra usually and resist his intuition to bail exterior.

41 seconds remaining within the second quarter, first-and-10

On this play, Kittle ran a divide route proper down the center of the protection, however he was doubtless an “alert,” that means Purdy would solely have a look at him if he favored the pre-snap look or peeked at him after the snap.

Purdy’s first learn is McCaffrey on the selection route, adopted by Jennings operating a stick China road.

After the snap, free security Quandre Diggs left the center and jumped exterior. He might need thought Kittle was going to run a nook route and guessed fallacious. Kittle was extensive open down the center of the sphere, however Purdy did not see him.

Primarily based on the pre-snap look, it might need been troublesome to foretell Kittle breaking extensive open. Purdy regarded to McCaffrey, however the “lurk” defender helped on McCaffrey.

Purdy appeared to look to his subsequent learn, Jennings, however did not pull the set off. Purdy had a clear pocket and loads of room to step up however as an alternative ran backward, bailed to his left and ultimately threw the ball away.

General, Purdy’s capability to increase led to 2 landing passes, and he ought to have had one other spectacular landing throw to Aiyuk that was dropped.

San Francisco offensive sort out Trent Williams had a good evaluation of Purdy after the sport.

“I like the truth that Brock is getting the eye he deserves. He is an effective participant, man. And I feel anybody who watches soccer can see that,” Williams mentioned. “I am not saying that he is the subsequent Aaron Rodgers or Pat Mahomes, however he does the whole lot that we’d like him to do and extra. I feel we will proceed to win with him, clearly.”

Purdy is enjoying at arguably a better stage than Garoppolo. But it surely’s noteworthy that his ultimate stat line from Saturday (18-of-30 for 332 yards and three passing touchdowns, together with a dashing landing) is not reflective of his recreation general. This 49ers group — together with the teaching employees — is extremely properly constructed, offering Purdy with perfect environment.

However that is the playoffs, and higher groups lie forward, beginning with the Cowboys on Sunday. The Shanahan coaching wheels should ultimately come off, and Purdy can be requested to win within the straight dropback recreation to steer San Francisco to a Tremendous Bowl. It may not be honest to ask this of a rookie, however will Purdy be capable of succeed the place his predecessor failed?

(Prime pic: Michael Owens/Getty Pictures)


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