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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Aiyuk: 49ers were “hands down” the best team in the NFL

Feb 5, 2023 at 9:30 AM--

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You can argue that the San Francisco 49ers were the most talented of the four teams on Championship Weekend. One Niners player believes that to be the case. Luck just wasn't on their side against the Philadelphia Eagles. Quarterback Brock Purdy exited the game with a UCL tear, and his backup, Josh Johnson, was forced out with a concussion in the second half.

Purdy returned to the game, but the injury prevented him from throwing. So, lacking a quarterback who could throw the football, it was run, run, and run some more for much of the game.

"Man, it was tough. It was weird," wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk told Brad Graham of TheSFNiners. "It was definitely a weird situation. I've never been in any situation like that, let alone in a championship game with everything on the line. It was definitely weird.

"I didn't even know. It really took me getting home and being on the plane and really sitting down and realizing what just went on. We literally just played a football game for pretty much a half a football with no quarterback. It's the craziest thing."

Regarding talent, Aiyuk believes the 49ers roster is second to none, despite the team having to watch Super Bowl 57 from home. The 49ers playing in the NFC Championship Game with two hands tied behind their backs was a tough pill to swallow after winning 12 consecutive games entering the matchup.

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"We went on a run. That's what makes this one just super hard, just because you have to get super lucky," Aiyuk shared. "You have to get super lucky. We have a talented football team. We have, hands down, the best football team in the league. Hands down. Hands down. I'm not even about to argue with anybody who thinks they should argue that."

Aiyuk admits that it has been tough to ignore the media chatter leading to the Super Bowl matchup between the Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. The receiver believes that, had the 49ers been a little luckier with injuries, it might be him preparing for the big game.

"I'm sitting down on the couch, just watching whatever these sports shows are, and they're just talking about how Philly is the best team, the most loaded team in football all year," Aiyuk said. "And it's just like—can't say nothing about it—but it's just like, 'No.' If you want to go player for player, offense or defense, I don't think anybody has [what we have].

"But that's what makes us so sick about this one because we feel like everything that we did from that point on, losing from KC, and from that point forward, just what we did to the league and how we just played on tape and how we really, I firmly believe, pumped fear into the opponent's heart when they had to come and play the San Francisco 49ers, we felt like it was our time. We felt like it was our time. And for that to get cut short, it's sickening."

Aiyuk and the 49ers were hoping for a rematch against the Chiefs, the team that delivered the Week 7 loss that sparked their impressive 12-game win streak.

Aiyuk added, "Kansas City [beat us], and we wanted to get one more chance at them. We weren't able to do that."


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