When it comes to postgame quotes, you catch players when they’re vulnerable, as the adrenaline from the game has yet to wear off. Here are some raw reactions from the 49ers players after Sunday’s victory over the Dolphins.
Nowhere to run
Arik Armstead played in 21 of the 46 possible snaps in his first action in two months. Armstead had a two-play sequence where he forced a holding call on the Dolphins' right guard, which brought back a long Raheem Mostert run. Then, on the next play, Armstead pushed the pocket and forced an errant throw, which led to an interception for Jimmie Ward.
Dre Greenlaw, on having Armstead back in the lineup:
“Huge, man. Having a guy with that length, that experience, his leadership, and everything that he brings to the table. Man, it’s definitely the piece that we’ve been missing for our team.”
You could tell Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel had little to no interest in in running the ball, and 91 was a big reason.
Armstead said the 49ers' defense expects to be dominant: “We want to be the best defense in the world. We said that in the offseason. That’s our goal.”
McDaniel on the Niners defense: “I think that was an outstanding job by the 49ers defense, just the team collectively. They brought it.”
You hear those types of comments from the opponent weekly. The physicality is impossible to prepare for until it’s too late.
Praise for Purdy
Here’s McDaniel on Purdy: I think that’s a pretty good player there. His preseason was as good as any rookies. I know that coaching staff and team is very confident in him. That team will be fine moving forward with him. I’m sick for Jimmy and having to go through that, but at the same time that’s football, and teams get tested with their depth all the time, and no one really cares at the end of the season. It’s result based. So, they’ll be all right. I thought he did a good job.”
The Dolphins defenders that spoke after the game, like defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, said he didn’t think the offense changed much once Jimmy Garoppolo left with an injury:
“They did a little more short passes and quick passes, things like that. Probably just get the quarterback going, but respect to him. He did a good job stepping up. I told him after the game, ‘way to step up.’ It was definitely respectable.”
49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel acknowledged how tough it is to rally after losing his starting quarterback. Here’s what Deebo was most impressed with about Purdy:
“With not knowing that he’s ever coming in, when he got in, you could tell he was ready for the moment and very vocal. There were times that he messed up, and it take nuts to call the time out with Kyle calling it. You know what I’m saying? The ability that he has to be one of the guys for this offense.”
Deebo gave credit to Jimmy, saying Purdy was comfortable throwing contested passes as he sees Jimmy doing it every day in practice.
Christian McCaffrey was impressed with Purdy’s poise:
“Man, he plays with a lot of confidence. Didn’t miss a beat. He came in and was great in the huddle. Obviously made some plays. I got to make a couple more plays for him. When something like that happens, it’s on us to step up. But he did a great job all the way until the end, staying poised. Managing the huddle and obviously, there’s some things that can happen here and there with communication and just having a different quarterback. But I was proud of him. I thought he did a great job.”
The 49ers' lone penalty of the game was an illegal man down the field on Mike McGlinchey in the second quarter. Outside of that, they played a clean game. That’s not easy to do when you’re playing with a new quarterback.
Purdy has a brand new cadence that could have easily led to pre-snap penalties. Him being on the field for the first time in regular season action was bound to draw a flag. Yet, we didn’t see it. The timeout Samuel mentioned speaks to Purdy’s awareness.
Finally, Brandon Aiyuk. He had nine targets on the afternoon, which was tied for third behind McCaffrey and Deebo’s ten apiece. It’s clear Purdy had favorites. And you wouldn’t fault the rookie for favoring those three.
Aiyuk said Purdy did a great job and brought up Purdy’s confidence: “You know he’s going to slam the ball, throw it and fit it wherever he can. He’s super confident, and that confidence bleeds into us that we have in him; we’re ready to go.”