NFC Championship Let Down

Football fans were denied the game we deserved.  We didn’t get to see who the best team in the NFC really is because six plays into the 49ers first offensive drive, Hassan Reddick essentially knocked Brock Purdy out of the game.  Coach Shanahan made possibly the worst coaching decision of the year asking Tyler Kroft to block the Eagles sack leader putting Purdy in jeopardy and ending the Niners season.  Reddick stormed past Kroft and hit Purdy in his arm bending it back, forcing a fumble and injuring Purdy’s elbow.  For that play alone, Coach Shanahan should lose the Coach of the year award (or am I being too emotional here).

Josh Johnson showed why Brock Purdy’s performance this year was so special.  With Johnson under center the Niners offense was listless, managing only one scoring drive on a 46-yard field.  During that drive it was virtually all Christian McCaffrey, willing the team down the field to get six.  Throughout the game, Johnson routinely missed reads.  There were several occasions where George Kittle or Jauan Jennings was running wide open and the 6’3 Johnson simply could not see them.  Height and weight are not everything.  You need brains and heart to.  You need to be prepared.  Johnson was lacking.

San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey runs during the first half of the NFC Championship NFL football game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

The Niners defense held the Eagles to 14 points late into the 2nd quarter.  If Johnson had not fumbled the snap away, the half time score could have been 14-14 or 10-14 or even 7-14.  With the Niners defense wore out, the Eagles took advantage and scored again to go up 21-7 at half time.  The game was over.  The game was over when Purdy went down earlier in the game…but none of us knew that yet.

The Eagles succeeded in knocking out both of the 49ers’ quarterbacks.  Johnson went down with a concussion in the 3rd quarter leaving Brock Purdy to hand the ball off.  He connected on two short throws, but it was clear he could not put any zip on the ball.  The Niners defense put on a valiant effort but were wore out due to the offense’s inability to win time of possession and score points.  The Eagles offensive stat line is not impressive, but they still managed to score 31 points.

The Eagle’s win is not impressive to me.  Knocking the starting quarterback out of a game is not a measure of how good a team is.  The Eagles did what they were supposed to do in that scenario and capitalized on the 49ers ill fortune.

The Niners off-season will be interesting.  I think it’s fair to say that there will be a quarterback competition.  The core of the team will remain.  Decisions about Jauan Jennings and Mike McGlinchey loom large in the face of needing to pay Brandon Aiyuk and Nick Bosa.  Jimmy Ward was in a contract year as well.  Lastly, will DeMeco Ryans stay or take the Houston job?  Next year’s roster will be different.    The question is will it be good enough to get the Niners back to the Super Bowl in next year’s quest for six.

I know was critical of Coach Shanahan in early in this article.  However, I believe he is the man and the coach to lead this team to its next Super Bowl Championship.  He is an innovative play caller.  He is sharp, compassionate, and resilient.  The Niners will bounce back next year.  Have Faith!


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