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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Why 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan didn’t panic after Brock Purdy’s slow start vs. Seahawks

Jan 16, 2023 at 11:43 AM--

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Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers got off to a slow start during Saturday's playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. Sometimes you forget Purdy is a rookie quarterback making his sixth NFL start. He has looked so good during his previous six games, including his Week 13 action when he replaced an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, that the expectations for the 23-year-old are extremely high.

A couple of off-target throws in the first half against the Seahawks left some fans wondering if the playoff jitters had gotten a hold of the seventh-round draft pick. One person who wasn't concerned at all was the quarterback's head coach.

"There was a couple of open guys that he just missed," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters via a conference call on Monday. "I know when that happens, it sticks out as [him] not playing well because they were plays that he should have made. But all the other plays, he did play well. So when you just have a couple of misses, you really don't want to panic. I mean, Brock's an accurate thrower. He's been doing that all year and playing well.

"He just missed a few, and I don't think there's really much of an explanation for it. We just had to settle him down a little bit and give him a few more opportunities, and he got those in the second half and was pretty lethal with them."

That was a message that the coach shared with his rookie quarterback at halftime. Purdy had to take advantage of his opportunities.

"I think when you go in, in the first half, and you're averaging eight-and-a-half yards a play, and you scored on all your three possessions, you just came up short in the red zone on two, I don't think there is much of a panic," Shanahan admitted. "I think everyone's like, 'Holy cow. We're getting after these guys. We've just got to start scoring touchdowns because we missed two opportunities. We've only had the ball three times. Let's figure out how to finish these.'

"I don't think it was that big of a deal at halftime. That first half almost went as good as it could, but if we don't finish some of these big plays, and we just keep getting field goals, then you're going to have to be dependent on them not scoring the rest of the game to try to win, and we don't want to have to be dependent on that."

Shanahan believes the 49ers coming out of halftime and scoring on their first possession in the third quarter was a momentum shifter. Purdy finished the game 18-of-30 for 332 yards and three touchdowns, adding four carries for 16 yards and a rushing touchdown.

Shanahan added, "I think that was a huge deal for us, and then we kind of took off from there."

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