If the 49ers’ start to the NFC Championship game wasn’t bad enough, losing Brock Purdy to a first-quarter injury was about the worst thing possible.
The San Francisco 49ers already were off to a rough start in the NFC Championship game against the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, and head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad already received a hefty scare when All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner had to exit briefly with an early injury on only the second play from scrimmage.
That might have been bad enough, but the Niners losing quarterback Brock Purdy to an elbow injury on San Francisco’s opening offensive possession is about as terrible as it gets.
Purdy was strip-sacked by Eagles defensive end Haason Reddick, who got beyond backup tight end Tyler Kroft to take Purdy down, and Philly recovered the loose ball as a result:
More pressing, though, is the reality that Purdy will have to leave the game for an undetermined amount of time after being ruled as questionable with an elbow injury.
49ers forced to go with Josh Johnson to replace Brock Purdy at QB
Purdy’s exit means San Francisco is forced to go with its fourth-string quarterback of the season, journeyman veteran Josh Johnson, who has scantly played this year for the 49ers.
That’s a massive blow for a Niners team that failed to challenge a fourth-down catch by Eagles wide receiver Devonte Smith that wasn’t controlled when the star receiver hit the ground, and Philly subsequently scored a touchdown on that drive to take the early 7-0 lead.
San Francisco also watched Philadephia win the challenge that determined Purdy had fumbled on the play when he was injured.
Perhaps the 49ers can ride their top-ranked defense to stay in contention against an elite Eagles offense, but Johnson coming in for Purdy probably points to the Niners’ offensive game plan being thrown entirely out the window.
Update: Purdy returned as an emergency option after Johnson appeared to suffer a head injury early in the third quarter.