Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Eagles’ Darius Slay reacts to comments by 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk

Feb 6, 2023 at 9:58 PM--

Brandon Aiyuk, like so many fans, wonders how the NFC Championship Game might have turned out had the San Francisco 49ers not lost their third- and fourth-string quarterbacks—the only two available—to injuries in the game. Rookie Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL in the first quarter and could not throw the football. His backup, Josh Johnson, exited in the third quarter due to a concussion.

Aiyuk has little doubt that if Purdy had never suffered his injury, it might have been the 49ers, not the Philadelphia Eagles, preparing for Super Bowl 57.

"We literally just played a football game for pretty much a half a football with no quarterback," Aiyuk shared this week with Brad Graham of TheSFNiners. It's the craziest thing. … 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 believes the Eagles got lucky. He feels their game plan would have been able to take advantage of Philadelphia's weaknesses. The 49ers just never had a chance to prove it.

"They talk about them being a good defense. I'm not sure," Aiyuk told Graham. "I think the pass game, this Kansas City pass game, will expose what we thought we were going to be able to expose before some unfortunate circumstances happened. So we'll see. But like I said, you got to get lucky to win the Super Bowl, and they just got extremely lucky last week."

Philadelphia did win, though. That is the reality. Eagles cornerback Darius Slay is more concerned with what did happen than what could have been and feels luck had little to do with the outcome of the NFC Championship Game.

"We've had the No. 1 defense in the passing game for, I think, almost the whole year," Slay said, speaking with the media and responding to a question about Aiyuk's comments on Monday during the Super Bowl Opening Night in Arizona. "I don't know. That was weird. Yes, bad sportsmanship. Bad."

A follow-up comment pointed out that Aiyuk was likely suggesting that the 49ers lacked an opportunity to play their style of football for four quarters.

"What kind of chance they gonna get? The first time they dropped back, we're going to break their quarterback—both of them. So I don't know what chance they would've got. But shout out to him."

What outcome does Aiyuk predict for Super Bowl 57 on Sunday? The receiver made his prediction, admitting that he understands the game features the Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, and he and his 49ers will be watching (those who choose to watch) from their couches.

"Hypothetically speaking, if I were going to bet on this game, I would take everything that I own, get it in cash, and put my money on the Kansas City Chiefs," Aiyuk said. "… I got the Chiefs. I think the Chiefs—I just, I don't know. I just think Philly, they got their hands full. I don't know fully about that defense. I don't know. They talk about them being a good defense. I'm not too sure."

Aiyuk believes the Chiefs will find a way to expose what the 49ers had hoped to expose in the Eagles.

"I think the pass game, this Kansas City pass game, will expose what we thought we were going to be able to expose before some unfortunate circumstances happened," Aiyuk said. "So we'll see. But like I said, you gotta get lucky to win a Super Bowl. And they just got extremely lucky last week, so who's to say they can't do it twice? Like I said, I'm not going to speak too much on it. Shout out to those teams. They're the last two teams standing. Everybody knows how hard it is to do that, so shout out to them."

One 49ers player who won't be watching is defensive end Nick Bosa. Last week, when asked about the Jalen Hurts versus Patrick Mahomes matchup, the pass rusher responded, "That will be a good battle that I will not be watching."

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