49ers seal NFC West behind ‘poised’ Brock Purdy, suffocating protection

SEATTLE — Fred Warner has been on this spot earlier than. This time, he famous, he made certain to benefit from the second.

Three years in the past, the San Francisco 49ers gained the NFC West in prime time at Lumen Subject earlier than advancing to the Tremendous Bowl. 

So, it’s solely becoming that Warner and a similarly-built 49ers squad with title aspirations clinched the division once more by happening the street and taking good care of the Seattle Seahawks 21-13 on Thursday Night time Soccer. 

“Knowing that we got it in this fashion, in this atmosphere again, it means the world,” Warner stated. “It was a complete team win. We needed everybody and I’m super proud of our group.” 

Beneath siege by the star linebacker and the remainder of the Niners’ protection all through the night time, the Seahawks amassed solely 277 complete yards of offense. They did not attain the purple zone till late within the fourth quarter and went 4-of-13 on third down. Additionally they failed to guard quarterback Geno Smith, who took three sacks, was hit one other six occasions and averaged simply 4.4 yards per go play.

For the 49ers, it was one more demonstration on a nationwide stage that they’ve maybe the perfect protection within the league. 

San Francisco has now clinched the division prior to in its earlier two cases — 2019, 2012 — each of which led to Tremendous Bowl appearances. The membership additionally sits only a half-game again of the Vikings for the NFC’s No. 2 seed. Simply as vital, the win demonstrated that even with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy filling in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers stay a authentic risk to make a title run.  

Enjoying a mere 4 days after struggling indirect and rib accidents, Purdy didn’t throw in follow this week, solely testing his well being with just a few throws throughout walk-through on the workforce lodge Thursday and in pregame warm-ups.

“I was getting some rehab myself and he was hurting last night,” San Francisco defensive lineman Arik Armstead stated of Purdy. “And today, to gut it out and have that type of performance, it shows how tough he is and shows his character.” 

Warner added: “I really haven’t had to say anything to him. Sometimes, you see a rookie quarterback — or a rookie in general — and you go over to him, let him know, ‘Hey, I got your back.’ But I really haven’t felt the need to do that to him, because I know what Brock’s made of. And I know he’s ready to go.” 

The Iowa State product didn’t seem affected by the damage. Purdy performed with poise in his first street contest as a professional by finishing his first 10 passes. He completed 17-of-26 for 217 yards with two landing passes and no interceptions, posting a 117.0 passer score.

Purdy’s effort included changing a third-and-1 from San Francisco’s 34-yard line with 2:42 remaining and the sport within the steadiness. The spry QB rolled to his proper off play-action and scrambled for the primary down, sliding inbounds to maneuver the chains and preserve the clock operating. Jordan Mason quickly sealed the win with a 55-yard run that enabled the Niners to kneel the ball.

“He’s definitely the most poised rookie [quarterback] I’ve ever had,” coach Kyle Shanahan stated of Purdy. “He’s been like that since he’s gotten here.”

It was nonetheless solely 12 days in the past that Purdy relieved Garoppolo and led the Niners over the Dolphins within the first prolonged motion of his younger profession. This previous Sunday, he made his debut begin and outplayed Tom Brady in a blowout in opposition to the Buccaneers. Thursday, he earned his first street win in considered one of soccer’s most hostile environments versus the rival Seahawks for the NFC West crown. 

Fairly a grand entry into the NFL for Mr. Irrelevant, huh?

“It’s special and everything,” Purdy stated. “But honestly, I’m just another component, another piece to this team, in terms of a guy coming in and doing what he’s asked. I’m the quarterback. I have to make decisions. I trust how the coaches are teaching me each week. I just try to get the balls out to the guys on time.” 

San Francisco improved to 10-4 with the win, the workforce’s seventh straight, whereas the Seahawks dropped to 7-7 on the 12 months and are at present out of the playoff area. 

Nick Bosa recorded three QB hits and a sack, upping his complete to fifteen.5 on the season and matching his profession excessive from final 12 months. He turns into the primary 49er with a number of 15-sack seasons for the reason that stat turned official in 1982. 

Security Talanoa Hufanga and defensive finish Samson Emukam additionally notched sacks. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw made essentially the most impactful play of the sport. With San Francisco main 7-3 and 1:27 left within the first half, the fourth-year standout delivered a giant blow to Seattle operating again Travis Homer, dislodging the ball.

Cornerback Charvarius Ward scooped up the fumble and returned it 40 yards to Seattle’s 6-yard line. Two performs later, Christian McCaffrey plunged in from a yard out for the landing, offering the Niners a 14-3 cushion at halftime.

McCaffrey completed with 138 scrimmage yards, together with 108 on the bottom on 26 carries. 

Tight finish George Kittle made the most important performs offensively, scoring twice on modern designs from offensive mastermind Shanahan that badly fooled Seattle’s protection.

The primary TD got here on a faux, double-screen go referred to as “Hollywood” that left Kittle large open for the opening rating of the sport. The previous All-Professional would discover pay dust once more early within the second half, this time on a 54-yard run-and-catch the place he was the final learn on the play, in response to Shanahan. That gave San Francisco a commanding 21-3 lead. It briefly appeared to be 28-3 following a pick-six, just for Bosa to be referred to as for a controversial roughing the passer that negated the defensive rating. 

Seattle had its justifiable share of penalties and missed alternatives contributing to its destiny. DK Metcalf was referred to as for an offensive go interference that negated a giant play. The Professional Bowl wideout was additionally flagged for taunting. Quandre Diggs dropped an interception at midfield on a uncommon mistake by Purdy. The Seahawks had been charged with eight accepted penalties for 79 yards. 

Ward did a pleasant job of bottling up Metcalf earlier than leaving the sport late for a concussion analysis. (The CB cleared protocol however didn’t return.) Metcalf totaled seven receptions for 55 yards. Veteran receiver Tyler Lockett suffered a damaged finger that would sideline him for the remainder of what has been one other stellar season. 

The Seahawks’ will finish in three weeks if they do not rapidly proper the ship on each side of the ball.

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Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for greater than a decade, masking the Los Angeles Rams for Sports activities Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma Information Tribune. Comply with him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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