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49ers Notebook: Nine years later, 49ers get Thanksgiving revenge over Seahawks; Shanahan, Purdy discuss key throws vs. Seahawks; What happened to Christian McCaffrey’s helmet?

Nov 24, 2023 at 12:05 AM--

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It took nine years, but the San Francisco 49ers finally got some payback on Thursday night for the Seattle Seahawks feasting on turkey after a win at Levi's Stadium in 2014.

The Seahawks' 19-3 win over the 49ers on Thanksgiving in 2014 was the last time either team played on Thanksgiving before Thursday night, and after that game then-Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman dug into the postgame turkey at the 50-yard line of Levi's Stadium at a time when the rivalry between the two teams was at a peak. The 49ers flipped the script on Thursday, notching a 31-13 win over the Seahawks at Lumen Field in Seattle that was followed by a slew of 49ers getting their fill of Thanksgiving turkey, courtesy of NBC.

"That was a moment I'll remember forever," linebacker Fred Warner said after the game.

Among the players to have some turkey on the field were Warner, running back Christian McCaffrey, quarterback Brock Purdy, cornerback Charvarius Ward, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, and tight end George Kittle, who snagged the turkey and took it back to the 49ers' locker room. McCaffrey seemed surprised at the quality of the food NBC gave the 49ers, as well as how hot they were able to keep it despite it coming out after the end of the game.

"That was awesome. It was actually really good turkey, too," McCaffrey said. "I have no idea how they kept all of the dishes were hot. I was bummed I didn't get the sweet potato with the marshmallows. They had a fork, but then we had to pick the turkey leg up. By that time, I was eating the turkey.

"But the turkey was really good. Well cooked, wasn't dry at all. And like I said, still hot, which was impressive for being 20 minutes after the game. I don't know where they kept it, but it was good turkey."

The 49ers will soon shift focus to their upcoming game in Philadelphia against the Eagles, which stands as one of the biggest regular season matchups on the NFL schedule. But for now, they'll be happy to savor their Thanksgiving win over their division rival, as well as the postgame rewards that came with it.

"Yeah, it was sweet," Purdy said. "I mean, just growing up, you're with your family and stuff, watching the NFL games go on, you see the post game interviews and the turkey legs and it's just like a good time, watching it with your family. So to be able to be out with my teammates after the game on a win on the road, eating some turkey legs and stuff like that, it was fun.

"It's going to be something we'll look back on and smile about and whatnot. So, very thankful."

We've got more than just Thanksgiving dinner in this version of 49ers Notebook. Let's also get into what was said about Brock Purdy's best and worst plays against the Seahawks, as well as some other appetizers.

Brock, Shanahan on the pick six

The low point for Purdy in his performance against the Seahawks came early in the third quarter when he threw a pick six deep in 49ers territory that, for a little while anyway, gave the Seahawks new life after being dominated on route to a 24-3 halftime deficit. The pick six brought the Seahawks within 14 and pumped some energy into the home crowd.

Shanahan explained that the Seahawks confused the 49ers on the play, which led to the throw underneath that deflected off the hand of McCaffrey and into the hands of linebacker Jordyn Brooks.

"They got us on a disguise," Shanahan said. "They were doing some weird disguises which got us in a check. I mean, it was it was a double call. I shouldn't have put that on him. Obviously, it wasn't the check that we wanted, but they got us with a disguise and ended up getting that tip."

Purdy gave his account of the play, saying that he felt the need to get the ball out given his proximity to the end zone and made a mistake he can learn from.

"So we just got into a second play," Purdy said. "We had BA (Brandon Aiyuk) as my first option on the left. Felt like wasn't there, so I came backside to Christian. It's somewhat of a safe play that we had on, and it's really one to two. And so I just tried getting the ball to Christian, being backed up, felt like I was in the end zone and wanted to get the ball out.

"So looking back at it now, obviously it was in a lot of coverage and stuff. Christian had a bunch of guys around him. So on my end, I didn't put him in the best position, and obviously our team in the best position, so I got to learn from it."

Purdy bounced back later in the game with a 28-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk to put the Seahawks in a 31-13 hole.

"It was an unfortunate play, but doesn't faze him at all. He came right back and made a hell of a play that sealed it."

And about that touchdown...

Purdy goes for it all and wins

Part of the Brock Purdy experience is every now and then he'll make choices that makes the coaches panic for a moment, only to have those choices pay off in the end. One of those plays came on the final touchdown of the game to Aiyuk.

Purdy had a man wide open underneath on the play who he could have hit easily for a big gain that would have taken time off the clock. But he decided to go deep to Aiyuk, turning a 2nd-and-7 play into the touchdown that sealed the game.

"I couldn't believe he was throwing it," Shanahan said. "The zone coverages guys were so deep, which usually you can check it down right underneath them and get about twelve. But Brock thought he could drop it in over the guy and it was a clear view for all of us and it was just a hell of a throw. Like perfect touch."

Shanahan told reporters that there was concern on the sideline when Purdy threw to Aiyuk but that "he proved to (the coaches) when the ball was in the air he made the right decision."

"We're all holding our breath as soon as he lets it go because the guy was so deep," Shanahan said. "But Brock's got some touch and he was able to throw it over him. And we took the safety out of there with a route so he knew if he could get over him, there's no one else left. And he made the throw. And I wouldn't have known it until he threw it, but once he threw it, obviously was there."

Purdy gave his account of the play, saying he realized the checkdown option was there in hindsight but made a pass he thought was available to him based on where the Seahawks were on defense.

"It's not like, all right, I messed up and I got to prove to myself or to my team that I can make a big play to get us back in. It's nothing like that," Purdy said. "We had actually ran the ball really well that drive, and so for myself, it was, all right, be smart with the ball. Take what the defense gives me. So we sort of had like a rollout setup play, and I just went through my progression.

"I felt the safety came down on the right side just enough for BA to get behind him, and I ripped it. But obviously looking back on it, there's a guy underneath as a checkdown that was open, too. That would have been a big gain for us to eat the clock up and stuff."

Monster game for McCaffrey

A strange moment in the game came during the first quarter when McCaffrey was shown on television getting his helmet fixed with a couple of screwdrivers while he was wearing it. Viewers got a kick out of the moment, which McCaffrey said made him feel like Frankenstein.

McCaffrey explained to reporters afterwards what was going on during that moment.

"The back of it broke, so they had to go in and get a new one," McCaffrey said. "I guess they keep two helmets. I didn't know that. And so they were making sure the chin strap fit on the second helmet. So that was the second helmet while one of them, the EQ guys, came in and was fixing the first helmet. So luckily I got the first helmet back and I only had to play one drive with the new helmet."

Regardless of what helmet he was wearing, McCaffrey had a huge night for the 49ers, rushing for 114 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, with five catches for 25 yards. His two touchdowns gave him 11 rushing scores on the year, which set a new 49ers single-season record.

That's one way to put it

We'll leave you with a quote from Seahawks rookie cornerback Devon Witherspoon, who after the game gave his assessment on what his team needs to do to avoid the type of slow start they had against the 49ers on Thursday. The Seahawks fell in a 24-3 halftime hole to the 49ers, which led Witherspoon to give an interesting suggestion on how to approach that situation in the future.

"We've just got to come out and be more aggressive, or we just got to come out and drop our nuts," Witherspoon said.

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