The San Francisco 49ers made a couple lineup changes in Week 12 due to injuries, and an intriguing decision saw Mike Purcell in the starting lineup at right defensive tackle. He played 49 snaps, and finished the game with 49 snaps, second only to Quinton Dial among defensive linemen.
Purcell was in the lineup seemingly for two reasons. Glenn Dorsey tore his ACL on the first play of the 49ers Week 11 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, leaving a hole on the line. Arik Armstead took over his role in that game, but was limited to passing downs in Week 12. Jim Tomsula met with the media on Monday and said one reason Purcell was in the lineup was because Armstead was dealing with a shoulder issue. The team did not want to overwork him, and so Purcell got the start.
On Monday, Tomsula was asked about Purcell's performance and if it might get him more opportunities moving forward. Tomsula said the team was always looking for ways to get him involved, but would not commit to anything more specific. That being said, Purcell's performance might be enough to get him the starting role when the 49ers head to Chicago. Purcell had three tackles and a sack, and as the videos below show, got some serious penetration on that crazy goal line series that saw the Cardinals get five separate chances at 1st and goal inside the 3-yard line. It's unfortunate it took a Dorsey injury to get Purcell an opportunity, but getting some more film on him over the final five weeks would probably be a good thing.