Conference Championship weekend is done and…well that kind of sucked if we’re being frank.
This game was over at approximately the 7-minute mark of the first quarter, when Haason Reddick hit Brock Purdy’s throwing arm as he was winding up, resulting in a fumble but more importantly for the 49ers, a torn UCL for Purdy that will shelve him for at least 6 months.
As a result, the 49ers turned to Josh Johnson – fourth-string Josh Johnson, signed from Denver’s practice squad in early December – to navigate the last 3 ½ quarters of the NFC Championship Game. Things went ok for a few minutes, as San Francisco briefly tied the game at 7-7…until they didn’t and Johnson was ALSO hurt, forcing Purdy back into the game. But Purdy couldn’t throw the ball more than 5 yards downfield – his last attempt was a screen pass to Christian McCaffrey that traveled maybe 3 yards in the air – and…yeah, the train never left the station and the 49ers were eliminated by the Eagles, 31-7.
Because Purdy couldn’t throw and Johnson was pretty meh then was out with a concussion, our man George Kittle had only 3 receptions for 32 yards, plus 1 carry for 4 yards. This is a tough way for the 49ers to go out. As a reminder, Trey Lance broke his ankle Week 2 (he had a second surgery at the end of December on that same injury, this time to take some of the hardware out from the first procedure), Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot Week 13 and is now an unrestricted free agent, Purdy filled in well from Week 13 on but then torn his UCL, then Josh Johnson suffered a concussion in the same game Purdy tore his UCL and Purdy had to re-enter the game! I’ve honestly never seen anything like that injury-wise. San Francisco has had important players miss multiple weeks going on what feels like four seasons now, but that’s absurd, going down to your fourth-string quarterback and then having to re-insert your third-string quarterback who can’t throw. Let’s just say it’s not your year when that happens.
In better news, ISM advanced to the Super Bowl after Kansas City’s 23-20 win over Cincinnati in
Burrowhead Arrowhead Sunday night. ISM was inactive for the game. The Chiefs did suffer some injuries to the receiver corps, so maybe keep an eye on that? Could ISM sneak onto the active roster? I honestly don’t know. It seems unlikely, but crazier things have happened (re-read the George Kittle section).