The San Francisco 49ers are NFC West Champions after beating the Seattle Seahawks 21-13. Kyle Shanahan’s Coach of the Year odds will jump off the screen as he’s led his team to three convincing wins with Brock Purdy and seven in a row after a shaky start to the season. Purdy’s poise led the offense, and DeMeco Ryans’ defense suffocated the Seahawks in one of the loudest atmospheres out,
Brock is Purdy poise
Well, well, well. No one thought Brock Purdy would be the one to clinch the NFC West back in training camp. However, Purdy’s remarkable play in San Francisco’s last three games forced Shanahan to say that Purdy is “the most poised rookie I’ve ever had.”
Rookie quarterbacks haven’t fared well at Lumen Field, but Purdy’s poise silenced the noise. Shanahan helped Mr. Irrelevant by scheming George Kittle open after Seattle did a solid job of defending Christian McCaffrey. Purdy’s throws and game-sealing slide make a Super Bowl appearance believable. The sky’s the limit if Purdy can play turnover-free.
Mooney Ward and the 49ers’ defensive line make it hard for Seattle
John Lynch’s defensive line investments are the backbone of the franchise. Kris Kocurek’s defensive line kept Geno Smith on his toes all night with constant pressure and nine quarterback hits. Kerry Hyder looked good inside next to Arik Armstead as they both clogged the run. Nick Bosa bounced around and strengthened his DPOY campaign by living in Seattle’s backfield.
Charvarius Ward aligned across from DK Metcalf on 25 of 35 routes (71% shadow) in the first three quarters before leaving the game with an injury.— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 16, 2022
Ward forced 3 tight windows on 6 targets in coverage against Metcalf, allowing 4 receptions for 33 yards.#SFvsSEA | #FTTB pic.twitter.com/pK4Raqkmbs
The secondary continues to improve against explosive plays. The coverage bust early in the game was quickly adjusted by the sound defense on all three levels of the field. Mooney Ward’s play deserves Pro-bowl and All-Pro nominations. Ward shadowed DK Metcalf on 25 of 36 routes and allowed four catches for 33 yards on four targets.
Ryans’ unit kept the dynamic duo of Tyler Lockett and Metcalf in check and get to rest up before facing the crisp route-running of Terry McLaurin. The swarm mentality is greatly reflected as guys constantly fly to the ball. The defense will get even stronger with Javon Kinlaw’s practice window opening up.
A rocky 1-2 start to fighting for the #2 seed in the NFC
There’s no need to dwindle on the state of the 49ers early in the season, but we all knew it wasn’t pretty. The 49ers and resilience have been paired since Shanahan and Lynch joined in 2017. Playing through quarterbacks, injuries, and coaching changes makes you think about how this franchise does it.
Shanahan’s season is far from over with the opportunity at the second seed in the NFC. Ryans’s defense and Shanahan’s offense both have the ball rolling right now. Depth is the only concern as we look ahead to the three scrappy teams left before the postseason.