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Golden Nuggets: Game. Ephing. Day.

Your daily San Francisco 49ers news for Sunday, January 29th, 2023

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‘This guy is going to be a problem’: Inside the first QB duel between Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy

“There was just something to the guy. He was just annoying. You just knew that dude had a little something extra to him. ... This dude was just like a little thorn. You were like, ‘This kid is better than you want him to be.’”

Breece Hall says Brock Purdy, his college roommate, wouldn’t talk to him if he beat him in Madden, 2k

“It’s just all those little things. Just seeing how competitive Brock was. He was my roommate for two years, so we’d be up in his room playing Madden or 2K and if I beat him, he wouldn’t talk to me. I’d go mess with him and try to give him a hug and he tried to wrestle me and kick me out the room. So just little things, seeing how competitive he was on video games, in the weight room, on the field running, even though he knew he wasn’t faster than me and stuff like that. Just seeing how he hated to lose and how competitive he was every day. It never changed and never wavered.”

Super Bowl hunt: Attention to run game keeps Eagles, 49ers, Bengals, Chiefs in chase (paywall)

“A rival coach described the younger Shanahan as “the best run tactician in the game,” pointing out how the coach always seems to pinpoint the weaknesses of his opposing defenses and exploit those problem areas with formations and personnel groupings. Shanahan will feature the traditional zone-running schemes that he and his father ran for years, but he’ll also involve his receivers in the run game, whether through jet sweeps or by motioning Deebo Samuel into the backfield and using him like a tailback.

The 49ers aren’t afraid to throw on early downs, but they enter each game intent on establishing the run game. Doing so means they are dictating to the defense, establishing the line of scrimmage, easing pressure on their quarterback and setting up the play-action passing attack, which often features big-play payoffs. Shanahan also displays patience as a play caller. You won’t see him abandon the run after a few unsuccessful rushes as some coaches do. Instead, he maintains a commitment to balance, content to chip away at a defense and confident that those early 2- and 3-yard runs will turn into sizable chunks of yardage and home runs as defenders wear down late in games.”

For 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan, the right intentions mean no regrets (paywall)

“There are certain calls that he knows, “If it doesn’t work, God, it’s going to look stupid,” he told me a couple of years ago, not long after losing the Super Bowl to the Kansas City Chiefs in February 2020 despite a fourth-quarter lead. “But if it works, God, are you going to look good. But you’ve got to live with it if it looks dumb. And those are the kind of things that, if you don’t prepare the right way, your nerves will take over, and now you’re hesitating, and you’ll take the safer side. I prepare so that I will be ready when that time comes, so that I’m calling whatever I think is right. That’s everything to me.”

Deommodore Lenoir is bringing his ‘hyena’ spirit to 49ers’ supercharged defense (paywall)

“Lenoir’s position coach, Cory Undlin, said this week that his pupil’s recent interceptions simply are the result of repetitions. Even in blowouts in which most of the 49ers’ defensive starters have come out of the game in the fourth quarter, Lenoir has merely moved to nickel cornerback because the team has had so many injuries at cornerback. Because of that, Lenoir is closing in on 900 defensive snaps this season and trails only backfield mates Hufanga, Ward and Tashaun Gipson Sr. in that category... “We use the phrase ‘It’s gonna build a callus on you,’” Undlin said. “Even if you get beat, every time something happens to you out there, you’re going to grow from it.”

Trent Williams is ‘starving’ to win: 49ers vs. Eagles predictions, observations (paywall)

“Matt Barrows: I’ve gone back and forth in my mind on this. I think Hurts is the second-most dangerous quarterback the 49ers have faced this season. If San Francisco loses it will be because Hurts has beaten the defense at critical times with his legs. But in the end my prediction hinges on this: The 49ers are accustomed to and built for precisely the type of nail-biter slugfest this promises to be. I see a Robbie Gould kick as time expires.”

Branch: 49ers vs. Eagles will be the Smashmouth Bowl before the Super Bowl (paywall)

“I think the two teams are built very similarly,” McGlinchey said. “I think it’s two teams that understand you win the game by running the football and playing damn good defense. And I think we do those things in a lot of different ways. I don’t think our styles are exactly the same. But at the core that’s who we both are.”


49ers elevate Coleman, Jenkins from practice squad to face Eagles

“The 49ers on Saturday elevated veteran running back Tevin Coleman from the practice squad to be available for the NFC Championship Game.”

Jerry Rice to serve as honorary captain for 49ers in NFC championship game

“San Francisco isn’t the only team deploying a team legend for the conference title game. The Eagles are rolling out Hall of Fame safety Brian Dawkins.”

In Roob’s Observations: One area the 49ers’ defense may be vulnerable

“1. The 49ers don’t have many weaknesses on defense (or offense), but one thing they are vulnerable to is the deep ball. The 49ers had the No. 1 defense in the NFL (by 15 yards over the Eagles), but they did allow the 7th-most 30-yard pass plays in the NFL (21), the 4th-most 40-yard plays (11) and the most 50-yard plays (6). And the Eagles were tied for 2nd in 30-yard pass plays (27), tied for 2nd in 40-yarders (13) and 5th in 50-yarders (5). You’re not going to have a lot of luck trying to drive 75 yards in 15 plays against this 49ers’ defense. They only allowed 16 scoring drives of 75 yards or more all year. So you need chunk plays. The Eagles have a quarterback who can throw ‘em and they have several wide receivers who can catch ‘em. And the 49ers with their 20th-ranked pass defense will give them up. Bombs away.”