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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers vs. Seahawks offensive grades: Brock Purdy overcomes sluggish start in historic performance

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 17, 2023 at 4:05 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 in a blowout victory to move forward to the NFC Divisional Round, where they'll face the Dallas Cowboys for the second consecutive season in the playoffs.

Quarterback Brock Purdy made history in his first playoff game, becoming the first rookie signal-caller to account for four touchdowns in postseason history, amongst other accolades.

Here are the grades for the 49ers' win over the Seahawks.

Quarterback: B

To begin Saturday's wildcard game, Brock Purdy looked as you'd expect him to: a rookie with no playoff experience, as he had some early jitters, which included missing a wide-open Deebo Samuel to begin the game on a deep crosser.

Purdy's first drive brought many learning experiences as he missed Samuel before underthrowing an open Jauan Jennings for a touchdown and predetermining a throw to his big-slot receiver that was nearly intercepted, forcing the 49ers to settle for a field goal despite early success in the running game.

However, Purdy bounced back well on his second drive, going through progressions twice and hitting two checkdown passes, the latter of which came off a missed sack attempt that resulted in a touchdown to Elijah Mitchell.

The rookie quarterback's worst drive arguably came during San Francisco's two-minute drill at the end of the half.

After a completion to Brandon Aiyuk on a deep crosser, Purdy exhibited the habit of bailing out of the pocket early, not letting the offensive play unfold, despite having good protection.

First, he missed Jauan Jennings wide-open for a touchdown when rolling to his left instead of staying in the pocket, and then, committed the same mistake when George Kittle freed up along the seam for a touchdown before missing his slot receiver for a second time on the drive by rolling out once again.

However, in the second half, Purdy executed at a much higher level, completing 9/11 passes for 175 yards and three total touchdowns.

While there were some execution flaws, such as the placement of a Purdy completion to Jauan Jennings on a deep pass, the rookie quarterback significantly impressed, bouncing back from the issues he had in the first half and leading the 49ers to 25 second-half points, including three consecutive touchdown drives.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan had a masterclass gameplan in scheming open receivers, and his quarterback did a good job of maintaining the aggressiveness and hitting those wideouts.

Running Backs: A-

For the running backs, this game was the Christian McCaffrey show, as the 26-year-old had 119 yards off 15 carries, while catching two passes for 17 yards and a touchdown.

McCaffrey benefitted from strong blocking on the ground and took advantage with his elusiveness for several long carries, including a 66-yard rush on his first attempt, hitting the outside zone.

Once again, McCaffrey showcased his tendency to make something out of nothing on a successful cutback rush off a supposedly-dead play.

Elijah Mitchell was hit behind the backfield on several carries, rushing for just two yards on nine attempts, but the 49ers as a whole rushed for 181 yards on 33 carries, dominating the Seahawks on the ground.

Wide Receivers: A

San Francisco's wide receivers had a field day against the Seattle defense, consistently getting open and setting up favorable opportunities for quarterback Brock Purdy to execute.

Deebo Samuel led the way with six catches for 133 yards and a touchdown, which came off a 74-yard catch and run where the fourth-year wideout benefited from a Brandon Aiyuk block on his way to the endzone.

Samuel was also effective as a runner, rushing for 32 yards on three attempts, which hadn't been an integral part of the 49ers' offense recently.

Aiyuk had himself a good game as well, catching three passes for 73 yards while consistently getting open for Purdy, although it appeared the duo had a miscommunication on an early shot play that could've resulted in a touchdown.

Jauan Jennings earned himself more opportunities and worked well with them, getting open downfield as well, although he wasn't targeted heavily on those plays, finishing with two catches for 41 yards.

Tight Ends: B-

George Kittle was featured in a smaller role compared to previous weeks with just two catches for 37 yards on two targets, but was still an integral part of the offense.

Kittle served as a key blocker on Deebo Samuel's long run early in the game, while making a contested catch on a well-placed Brock Purdy pass for a two-point conversion.

Kittle also found himself open on a route up the seam for a touchdown during San Francisco's two-minute drill at the end of the first half, but Brock Purdy bailed the pocket, missing the read.

Tyler Kroft had an up-and-down day, missing two blocks in the running game, but making a couple of plays as well on the left side of the offense as a puller.

Offensive Line: A-

The offensive line compiled another strong performance on Saturday, keeping Brock Purdy relatively clean with just one sack on an elongated play, while blocking well in the run-game for explosive plays.

The return of Aaron Banks continued the timeshare at right guard between Daniel Brunskill and Spencer Burford, allowing the 49ers to return to their original starting five.

Banks had a couple of vital plays, making a key block on Christian McCaffrey's 66-yard rush, as well as a few others, but had a whiff as well.

The offensive line still has a tendency of getting pushed back at the line of scrimmage, which created several negative plays in the running game, but they held up well for the most part, which created longer runs.

The 49ers continue to favor the left side of their offensive line when running the ball, but see success with their strategy behind Trent Williams.

Now, they'll face a Dallas Cowboys defense that has given up 129.3 yards per game on the ground, good for 22nd in the NFL, where the run game will surely be an emphasis.
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