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Brock Purdy, 49ers discover rhythm in second half as Seahawks falter


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After a good first half, the San Francisco 49ers scored 25 unanswered factors to open the second half, pulling away to a 41-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium. The NFC wild-card win was the eleventh in a row for the 49ers, who will face an opponent to be decided in subsequent weekend’s divisional spherical.

San Francisco 49ers

As the lowest-drafted rookie quarterback to begin a playoff recreation, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy appeared to point out some comprehensible nerves for the primary time in his younger profession.

Purdy began Saturday’s wild-card matchup towards Seattle with some missed throws and late reads on performs he is made look routine over the previous month. But, as soon as once more, Purdy did not flinch when confronted with adversity.

With Purdy settling in and his playmakers gaining loads of yards after the catch, the Niners rolled into subsequent week’s NFC divisional spherical. They’ll host the Minnesota Vikings, Dallas Cowboys or Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.

Whatever was affecting Purdy early vanished with a fast cease within the locker room at halftime. He was almost good within the last two quarters, going 9-of-11 for 185 yards with two passing touchdowns and a dashing rating.

Purdy completed 18-of-30 for 332 yards with 4 complete touchdowns. In the method, he grew to become the third rookie quarterback to throw for 3 scores in a playoff recreation and threw for a number of touchdowns in a recreation for the seventh consecutive time, tying him with Justin Herbert for the longest streak by a rookie quarterback since 1950.

The largest query dealing with these Niners because the postseason started was how Purdy would react when the lights burn brightest. Just as he has with each check thrown his approach to date, Purdy handed with flying colours.

Pivotal play: The Seahawks trailed by solely six with 2 minutes, 31 seconds left within the third quarter and had the ball at San Francisco’s 19-yard line, threatening to take again the lead.

But when Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith dropped again to throw, he obtained quick strain from Niners defensive lineman Charles Omenihu off the correct facet. As Smith stepped up, Omenihu swiped the ball away.

An alert Nick Bosa pounced on the fumble for the sport’s first takeaway, and the Niners promptly drove for a landing that primarily put the sport away.

The takeaway not solely swung factors in San Francisco’s favor, however the 49ers additionally didn’t have any giveaways. The Niners at the moment are 14-0 this season in video games during which they commit one or zero turnovers.

Eye-popping NextGen stat: For the primary time this season, Niners operating again Christian McCaffrey didn’t get a contact on the primary drive of a recreation. But he made his first try depend on the second possession, racing 68 yards off the left facet for the third-longest rush of his profession.

On the run, McCaffrey hit a high velocity of 20.8 mph, his quickest velocity as a ball provider since Week 8 of 2019.

— Wagoner

Seattle Seahawks

So a lot for the Seahawks getting Purdy to buckle beneath the strain of his first playoff begin. So a lot for the inclement climate that may have been an equalizer for Seattle by slowing down the 49ers and their run-after-the-catch playmakers. And a lot for that foolish notion that it is laborious to beat a staff 3 times in a season.

The 49ers made it look straightforward within the second half as they turned a one-point halftime deficit right into a blowout victory during which they confirmed — once more — the massive hole that exists between them and the Seahawks. San Francisco has outscored Seattle 89-43 in three video games this season.

As ugly because it obtained for the Seahawks over the ultimate two quarters, perspective is necessary. They weren’t speculated to be at Levi’s Stadium on Saturday, hanging powerful with the No. 2 seed within the NFC and even carrying a 17-16 lead into halftime over a staff that had gained 10 straight video games. They weren’t even speculated to be within the playoffs within the first place after buying and selling quarterback Russell Wilson, chopping linebacker Bobby Wagner and committing to taking part in a bunch of younger gamers on either side of the ball.

The arrow is pointing up for the Seahawks, even with Smith unsigned past this season and a protection that wants loads of work up entrance. They’ve obtained a promising younger core and a boatload of 2023 draft capital, together with the fifth general decide by way of the Wilson commerce. But the 49ers simply despatched them into the offseason with one other reminder that the Seahawks might want to take an enormous step ahead earlier than they’ll catch again as much as the brand new bully on the NFC West block.

Troubling development: Most of the Seahawks’ defensive points this season stemmed from their overmatched entrance seven, however their tackling was poor in any respect three ranges. That was an enormous cause they ranked thirty first in the course of the common season in yards allowed after the catch per reception. That made for a troublesome matchup towards a 49ers offense that has led the NFL in YAC for the previous six seasons, and it went about as poorly for Seattle as you’d anticipate. Deebo Samuel’s 74-yard, game-sealing landing catch was probably the most evident instance of Seattle’s unhealthy tackling. The 49ers completed the sport with 181 yards after the catch, their third most in a recreation this season.

QB breakdown: Smith delivered the kind of up-and-down efficiency that typified his play over the closing stretch of the common season. He threw a thing-of-beauty deep ball to DK Metcalf within the second quarter for a 50-yard landing that gave Seattle a lead. He accomplished 71.4% of his passes, proper round his franchise-record season common. But he dedicated one other expensive turnover by way of a misplaced fumble that ruined a possible third-quarter scoring drive. He threw an interception within the fourth quarter, however Seattle was in desperation mode by then. Smith completed 25-of-35 for 253 yards and two landing passes, each to Metcalf.

Pivotal play: Late within the third quarter, the Seahawks had been driving for what might need been the go-ahead landing or no less than a discipline objective to chop the 49ers’ result in three factors. But their 12-play drive ended when Smith was stripped whereas making an attempt to step up within the pocket on third down. The 49ers then took a 14-point lead on their subsequent possession. Seattle’s move safety had held up effectively towards a wonderful San Francisco entrance 4 till the strip-sack of Smith. It was solely the 49ers’ fifth strain of the sport on 22 Seattle dropbacks (23%), based on ESPN Stats & Information analysis. They pressured the Seahawks on 38% of their dropbacks within the common season.

— Henderson

Read also  The Times' boys' basketball rankings


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