The 49ers couldn’t have asked for a better start after a five-play, 67-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 13-yard run off the right end by Deebo Samuel. During that drive, George Kittle caught a 15-yard pass, and Christian McCaffrey ran for 21 yards to give the Niners an early 7-0 lead.
Tampa Bay moved the ball into 49ers territory before Tom Brady escaped the grasp of Nick Bosa on third down. That forced a 55-yard field goal by another Mr. Irrelevant, Ryan Succop, and he missed the kick by about 20 yards.
The two teams traded punts on their ensuing possessions. The 49ers were fortunate as there was a blown coverage in the backend between Talanoa Hufanga and Deommodore Lenoir that left Mike Evans running wide open down the sideline for a would-be 68-yard touchdown. But Jordan Willis drew a holding flag on Donovan Smith that negated the score. And you don’t want to be behind the chains against this defense.
Purdy did make one mistake but didn’t pay for it, as Tampa Bay was flagged in the secondary, which negated the turnover. In the first half, Purdy was 5-for-5 for 76 yards when pressured.
A late touchdown pass in the first half to Brandon Aiyuk made it 28-0, effectively making it the most complete half of the 49ers' season. This is tied for the most points the Bucs' defense has allowed in the first half all season. The other team to score 28 had Patrick Mahomes under center.
But the 49ers didn’t make it out of the first half without losing someone significant, as Deebo Samuel was carted off with a knee injury. But, according to Jordan Schultz, the 49ers may get some positive news out of this:
Early indications are that #49ers WR Deebo Samuel did not suffer a serious injury, sources tell @theScore. I’m told the First-Team All-Pro WR badly twisted his ankle, but the team is optimistic he’s okay. Deebo will undergo more tests as a precaution.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) December 11, 2022
Samuel getting out of that injury with a “badly twisted ankle” feels like the best-case scenario.
Christian McCaffrey kept the scoring going in the third quarter after a stiff arm, cutback, and 38-yard run. Jordan Mason gave CMC a rest after and picked up where McCaffrey left off. Before the garbage time drives in the fourth quarter, the 49ers' offense carried the ball 27 times for 176 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt.
Mason continued to add on. Despite Tampa Bay knowing the 49ers would run it, their efficiency didn’t drop. San Francisco ran the ball for 207 yards on 32 attempts before the final drive.
You’ll rightfully hear about how well Purdy played — he had as many 20+ yard outside-the-number touchdown throws in a half than Jimmy Garoppolo has in three seasons. Yes, using the entire field matters — but the ground game took a ton of pressure off him, as did the defense.
Just when you think DeMeco Ryans' resume can’t get any better, he shut out Tom Brady up until the three-minute mark in the third quarter. Brady’s numbers mirrored last week’s game against the Saints.
Brady had 55 attempts for a measly 4.6 yards per attempt, also threw two interceptions, and was constantly uncomfortable and under durress. Brady’s throws were consistently off, and a lot of that is due to the 49ers' defense. Tampa Bay had 19 carries for an average of 3.3 yards. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were bottled up all game. This unit is the best in the NFL.