“But the whole point is to put points on the board and to win. What Purdy is doing with this 49ers offense isn’t imaginary. It’s not speculative. It’s just happening. Every week. Even if doesn’t always look beautiful, especially against a team that blitzed more than 80 percent of the time. Even after the early struggles, the 49ers led this game 17-6 at halftime. Overall, they outgained the Giants 441-150. They dominated, in the end, exactly how they should dominate a banged-up and under-talented team like the Giants.
The 49ers did not need Purdy to be perfect Thursday. With their defensive and offensive superstars, they rarely need that. But they need him to hold up when a defense is desperately trying to rattle him and, if he gets off to a slow start, they need him to sort it out and go back to putting points on the board. And if you’ve watched Purdy do all of this week after week and you still believe he isn’t good enough, that’s up to you. Though I’m not really sure what else you need to see.”
“It’s early still, but the 49ers are on pace to join an exclusive group: the 500 Club. In NFL history, 28 teams have scored 500 points or more in a season. One 49ers team has pulled it off, and it just so happened to be the last 49ers squad to win a Super Bowl, the 1994 team.”
“That ability is profoundly impressive, not just for a young quarterback, but any quarterback. It requires an ability to diagnose defensive approaches holistically, both pre- and post-snap, then attack them. It’s one thing to know what a defense is throwing at you, and another to actually beat it.
We are twelve games in, and the only game Purdy has lost is the one when his elbow snapped. He has 20 touchdowns and 4 interceptions (one of which came in a blowout relief appearance against the Chiefs, and another was a 50-50 ball that became an arm punt in that first game against the Dolphins).
There will continue to be criticism about Purdy, and there is plenty to criticize from these last two games. We all would like to see what happens when he does throw an interception and when the 49ers trail. That’s a crucial test that will surely come at some point this season.
But his ability to adjust, make off-schedule plays and execute in different ways — and attack different levels of the field — cannot just be shrugged off. He wouldn’t be what he is without Kyle Shanahan and his elite playmakers, but that’s irrelevant, because he is where he is. And as he continues to show, he’s plenty capable of making plays himself.”
“So instead of playing Brown, the 49ers released him and promoted Tre Swilling to the active roster from the practice squad. That promotion allowed them to use their two practice squad activations for the week on cornerback Shemar Jean-Charles and wide receiver Chris Conley.”
“Kinlaw’s excellent play to begin the season, which featured six pressures over two games, gave the 49ers confidence to push more defensive chips into the middle of the table. Adding an extra defensive lineman takes a back-end player out of the game, theoretically making it more difficult to cover ground against playmakers.
But the 49ers’ secondary proved it was up to the more difficult task. And the 49ers believe their defense, which was already ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season, can evolve to another level while rolling the dice with five-man fronts in selected situations here in 2023.
“It’s five one-on-ones — let’s have a party,” Kinlaw said. “We all tell each other, ‘meet me there (at the quarterback).’”
Trent Williams, the 49ers’ left tackle, said that he’s certainly happy that he doesn’t have to block against the team’s five-man front outside of practice.
“It’s extremely tough because you’ve got five guys and out of those five, three of them are almost unblockable one-on-one,” Williams said. “And the other two are unblockable one-on-one probably 60 percent of the time. So anytime you can put five guys on the line, you know it’s going to be one-on-one across the board, or for a guy like Nick, they’ve got to leave a tight end or a back in to help. That puts odd numbers on the back end, and it means we have an advantage.”
“While Hargrave was credited with five pressures, Kinlaw had four in far fewer snaps. His 33.3 percent win percentage was the best of any 49ers defensive lineman. For the first time this season, Jackson logged more snaps than Ferrell, who has started all three games so far.
Pass-rush win percentage:
- Kinlaw 33.3%
- Bosa 24%
- Hargrave 24.8%
- Armstead 18.5%
- Jackson 13.6%
- Givens 9.1%
- Ferrell 7.7%”
“A more pressing problem was a Giants defense that blitzed on three-quarters of Purdy’s dropbacks. With a New York defender constantly closing in on the quarterback, the 49ers’ downfield passing attack was non-existent for long stretches with Purdy being forced to throw screens and quick slants. The Giants cornerbacks also played to the inside of Samuel and the other 49ers receivers, taking away the crossing routes and throws over the middle that are a staple of Shanahan’s offense.”
“The “new” running back looks a lot like McCaffrey, who is 5-foot-11, 210 pounds and ran a 4.48 40-yard dash at the 2017 NFL combine. More than the measurables, though, his adaptability and commitment to his craft have elevated him beyond simple positional tags.
Growing up, McCaffrey spent countless hours working with his dad and brothers on everything that went into playing wide receiver even though it wasn’t his position. McCaffrey did receiver workouts centered on all the intricacies of that position, getting in and out of breaks “on a dime” and applying those lessons to the moves he’d make as a running back.
When he arrived at Valor Christian High in suburban Denver, McCaffrey was used as a running back/defensive back/punter. He also played basketball and baseball and ran track.”
“Both Dre Greenlaw and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles suffered low ankle sprains, Shanahan said. Deebo Samuel, meanwhile, had a rib injury, but his X-Rays came back negative, indicating he did not suffer a fracture.”
“Shanahan had previously been extended in 2020 on a six-year deal through 2025, while Lynch signed a five-year extension in that same year.”
“The dude did not want to throw the ball,” one Niners defender told me, shaking his head, after S.F.’s 30-12 victory. “Early on, you could tell it wasn’t gonna happen. Everything was a checkdown. At that point, we knew what time it was.”.....“Hell yeah, we were trying to get that bitch,” Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw told me — referring to the football, to be clear. “A lot of people who make all that money don’t even deserve it. I think they took a chance (when they paid him). I mean, he’s not bad. And if you ain’t got nothing better..”
...Bosa, by the way, has an annual average salary of $34 million, leaving him $6 million per year behind Jones.
If that seems insane to you, there are plenty of men who wore 1994-themed throwback jerseys on S.F.’s sideline Thursday night who feel your pain.
“Yeah,” said Niners cornerback Charvarius (Mooney) Ward, “forty million dollars a year is a lot of money.”
Another S.F. defender called Jones’ salary “unbelievable.” Still another used the word “ridiculous.” Said a third: “That’s a travesty, man.”
The Niners kept harassing Jones like debt collectors throughout the game, and he had nothing to offer in return.”