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49ers-Jaguars: Shanahan calls Brock Purdy TD throw ‘one of the worst decisions he’s made’

Nov 12, 2023 at 2:59 PM--

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One of the biggest highlights of Sunday's San Francisco 49ers win over the Jacksonville Jaguars came on a pass that quarterback Brock Purdy probably should have never attempted, and if head coach Kyle Shanahan has his way, it might be a long time before Purdy tries to make such a throw again.

The throw in question came on the first 49ers drive of the game when Purdy rolled to his left then threw in the opposite direction across the field into the end zone, where the ball landed in the hands of wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for a touchdown. Purdy had room to run for yardage on the play but pulled up before crossing the line of scrimmage and lofted the ball over the arms of two Jaguars defenders for the score.

Everything worked out for Purdy and the 49ers on that play, but that doesn't mean Shanahan was completely happy about it. Shanahan made it clear when speaking to reporters after the game that it wasn't a safe throw for Purdy to make and that Purdy lucked out on the play after making a bad choice.

"That was honestly one of -- I can say this because he played well -- but that was like one of his worst decisions I think he's made since he's been here," Shanahan said. "And it took me a while to get over it, but I thanked him for the touchdown. But that was not a good decision, and he was fortunate with it."

Purdy was told during his postgame media session about Shanahan's comment and didn't seem to have any issue with how his coach assessed the play.

"Yeah. I agree," Purdy said.

Purdy admitted in hindsight it would have been safer to run the ball. But when he saw Aiyuk and tight end George Kittle in the end zone, he took a chance that one of his playmakers would be able to make a play.

"It was just a normal keeper that we had up," Purdy said. "I got the edge. I just felt like I had a lot of time. The smart decision's probably just continue to run, try to get as many yards as I can instead of putting the ball up like I did. But I saw BA in the back of the end zone, sort of run space, George as well, and I just put it up towards the back and BA came down with it. But, yeah, I'm not necessarily proud of that play, honestly."

Purdy wound up having a standout performance statistically for the 49ers, completing 19-of-26 passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. He'll be able to take a lot of positives from Sunday's game, but the throw to Aiyuk will stand out as one Shanahan will use as a teaching moment.

"He made a lot of really good plays, and if you are going to make a bad decision and it's still a touchdown, in the grand scheme of things, he can tell me it was a real good decision," Shanahan said. "But I know he knows that (it was not a good decision). He knows what he did wrong, but Aiyuk made him right."

Purdy came into Sunday's game in a bit of a slump, having thrown five interceptions over the past three games, each of which turned out to be a loss. But he didn't let anything that happened in those games haunt him on Sunday, as he remained in attack mode and wound up having a winning performance in the end. That approach pleased Shanahan, who likes the fact Purdy isn't going to let a misstep keep him from playing aggressively.

"I know he's had some turnovers here and there in our losses, but you ask anyone who's watched all those games and stuff, he was one of the best players on the field in those games," Shanahan said. "You're always responsible for those turnovers. But Brock, there's none where you're sitting there saying he's taken too many bad decisions. That was one definitely. It's going to happen with guys, but I love having a guy who isn't thinking about that. He's trying to make the right decisions, letting it rip, and he'll live with the consequences and try to get better when it's not."

Meanwhile, Purdy is going to continue to play in a way where he will occasionally take risks, which is something he's happy that Shanahan and quarterbacks coach Brian Griese will allow him to do. He just needs to keep working on making sure he doesn't cross the fine line between taking a risk and making an unnecessary bad decision.

"I play football, and I'm aggressive with what I do and how I throw the ball, but I still have to learn times in the game and situations where I've got to be smart with the ball," Purdy said. "So that's something that I've got to continue to learn. But at the same time, they do a good job of not just handcuffing me. They let me play quarterback in an aggressive way and get the ball to our guys when they're open."

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