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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy: 49ers “drooling over this opportunity” to reach Super Bowl

Jan 22, 2024 at 1:00 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers believed they were the best team in the NFL last season and were determined to prove it in the NFC Championship Game. However, their aspirations were dashed when quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a heartbreaking injury, resulting in the 49ers falling just short of reaching the Super Bowl.

"What's so tough, like what we've experienced is, when you lose an NFC Championship, you want to snap your fingers and be there again, but you can't," fullback Kyle Juszczyk said after San Francisco's playoff win against the Green Bay Packers on Saturday night. "There's so much that has to happen between that last loss and getting back there again."

Now, the 49ers find themselves back in the NFC title game, set to host the Detroit Lions at Levi's Stadium on Sunday. The winner will advance to face either the Kansas City Chiefs or Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 58.

The journey back to this point was not without challenges. Purdy spent most of the offseason recovering from surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) sustained in last season's NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The 49ers came roaring out of the gate, starting the season with five consecutive wins before stumbling through three losses in October.

Still, the team persevered and secured the top seed in the NFC, along with home-field advantage in the postseason. The 49ers overcame a red-hot Packers team in Saturday night's Divisional Playoff game, with Purdy orchestrating a game-winning touchdown drive in the closing minutes to secure the 24-21 victory.

"Last year happened," Purdy told Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer after the game. "It sucked. We all thought we had a team to go all the way and do it. We didn't get an opportunity to. Now, we're back. It's been a quick year. We're all excited for this opportunity."

Having survived the Packers' upset bid, Purdy and the 49ers are now touchdown favorites against the Lions.

"We weren't trying to think too far in the future," the quarterback continued. "We knew, Green Bay coming in, it was going to be a good game. To be able to pull through at the end like that was huge. Now for us to now focus on the NFC championship."

Purdy added, "We're all drooling over this opportunity."

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