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Does Kyle Shanahan or Brock Purdy deserve more credit for the 49ers’ success this season?

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 20, 2023 at 11:45 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers have been on a tear in the second half of the 2022 NFL season, winning 11 consecutive games, and are currently riding that hot streak into a playoff matchup against the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Divisional round.

The reason for their success as of late? While there are certainly several factors, a primary cause has been the elevation of their offense amongst the league's best, especially after quarterback Brock Purdy took over the helm.

Over their last seven games, the 49ers are averaging 396.7 yards per game, as well as 34.5 points per game, creating one of the most prolific offenses in the NFL during that period of time.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has done wonders this season, adjusting and winning with his second and third-string quarterbacks, while continuing to keep defenses on tilt with creative playcalling.

However, rookie quarterback Brock Purdy has taken the league by storm and arguably has executed the Shanahan offense better than any of his predecessors at quarterback since the head coach arrived in San Francisco.

So, does Shanahan or Purdy deserve more credit for the 49ers' success this season?

Shanahan has perhaps had the best playcalling season of his 49ers' career, scheming open receivers at a significantly high rate, which is why many deem this offense as a quarterback-friendly scheme.

In the Wildcard round against the Seattle Seahawks, 10 of Brock Purdy's 30's throws went to targets that had at least five yards of separation, according to Niners Nation's Rob Guerrera, speaking to Kyle Shanahan's ability to scheme open receivers at a high level.

However, it's unfair to Purdy to take away from his performance just because Kyle Shanahan's good at his job.

In fact, the reason that the 49ers have been scoring at such a high rate is that Purdy is executing the offense and hitting those open receivers at a level that hasn't been seen from a quarterback in this offense since Matt Ryan with the Atlanta Falcons.

Additionally, Purdy's ability to extend plays and create off-structure opportunities lead to some of those wide-open receivers, which enhances the offense.

Purdy certainly has areas to improve on as a quarterback, and San Francisco has an elite corps of skill position players, but the rookie quarterback has impressed and created an extra layer to this offense, adding to the foundation that Shanahan has built to generate more success.

Now, Purdy needs to continue his level of play if the 49ers are to move further in the playoffs, but as fans have seen before, excellent play from the quarterback is not required for San Francisco to win games.

Instead, displaying turnover-free football and executing when opportunities are there is all that is needed, which Purdy has done to an extent this season.

Moral of the story? It's unnecessary to demean Purdy's performance or Shanahan's playcalling as a method to evaluate the other, although accountability, when mistakes do occur, is important.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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