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May 26, 2024

Purdy Injured as 49ers Fall to Ravens in Crushing Defeat

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Dec 26, 2023

The San Francisco 49ers suffered a devastating 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, in a game filled with huge momentum swings and playoff implications. 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy exited the game in the first half with an injury, causing backup Josh Johnson to enter before he also went down, forcing third-stringer Sam Darnold to take over.

Purdy Exits Early with Injury

Purdy had been outstanding since taking over as the starter, going 5-0 and leading the 49ers on a ten game win streak. But his day took a frightening turn early in the second quarter after taking a crushing hit on a scramble from Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen. Purdy remained down on the field for several minutes before walking gingerly to the medical tent, later ruled questionable to return with a rib injury.

The injury clearly affected Purdy, who struggled mightily after returning on the next drive. He threw an interception deep in Baltimore territory on his first pass back, beginning a disastrous turnover-filled collapse for San Francisco. Purdy threw a second pick on the next drive, then another interception which was returned for a Baltimore touchdown right before halftime.

Quarter Passing Yards Touchdowns Interceptions
First 107 1 0
Second 45 0 3

Purdy’s rib injury likely played a significant factor in his rapid decline. He was clearly uncomfortable and lacked the precision passing that had defined his previous games. After one more drive to open the third quarter which ended in a punt, Purdy was pulled from the game with the 49ers trailing 17-14, giving way to backup Josh Johnson.

Johnson Also Goes Down, Forcing Darnold to Take Over

Johnson provided an initial spark, driving the 49ers inside the Baltimore 30-yard line on his first possession. But the drive stalled after he took a hit on a third down scramble, forcing San Francisco to settle for a field goal. Johnson stayed in for two more drives, before injuring his concussion on a quarterback sneak, forcing former Jet Sam Darnold into action late in the fourth quarter.

Darnold received new life in San Francisco after floundering with the Jets and Panthers. His first pass attempt as a 49er received strong reviews, threading a 33-yard touchdown strike to Ronnie Bell to give San Francisco a 20-17 lead. But Baltimore methodically drove down the field on the next possession to regain the lead with just over a minute remaining.

Darnold moved San Francisco near midfield as the clock wound down, converting a key 4th and 3 to give the 49ers a chance. But his hail mary attempt on the final play fell incomplete, sealing the upset victory for Baltimore.

Playoff Hopes Take Massive Hit

The loss puts San Francisco’s playoff future in serious doubt after entering the game as Super Bowl contenders. At 12-4 they still hold the 2nd NFC Wild Card spot, but are just one game ahead of division rivals Seattle. With Purdy likely sidelined next week with the rib ailment, either Johnson or Darnold will need to step in and lead the team to a victory over Arizona to clinch a playoff birth. Seattle closes the season against the struggling Rams and are heavily favored to win and take the final Wild Card at 13-4 if San Francisco falls.

The uncertainty at quarterback also casts doubt on the 49ers chances if they do qualify for the postseason. Purdy had emerged as a strong MVP candidate while leading the efficient San Francisco offense. But with his status in question after the injury, the 49ers will need others to step up. Their fearsome defense rose to the challenge against Baltimore with several takeaways, but had breakdowns at key moments to allow Baltimore’s two late scoring drives. And mistakes on special teams and in the return game proved extremely costly.

San Francisco clearly has the talent to still make noise, but will need outstanding performances from unlikely sources if Purdy remains limited by injury. The 49ers face long odds, but have overcome adversity all season and will look to do it again next week with the season on the line.

What This Means Going Forward

  • The extent of Purdy’s rib injury remains uncertain, putting his availability next week in jeopardy. San Francisco will likely take a cautious approach even if he makes progress to ensure he is closer to full health for the playoffs.

  • Josh Johnson was placed in concussion protocol after his late injury, meaning he might also miss time. Sam Darnold will take first team reps in practice this week and is the likely starter if Purdy and Johnson can’t play.

  • San Francisco needs a win next week or Seattle loss to clinch a Wild Card spot. Expect an intense week ofpractice to get Darnold up to speed in case he needs to lead the offense.

  • Rest of the roster will need to elevate their play down the stretch, especially on special teams which directly cost San Francisco 7 points. Deebo Samuel’s fumbles were uncharacteristic but prove costly.

  • Huge game next week against Arizona. Division rival would love to play spoiler and keep 49ers out of postseason after San Francisco dominated them twice in regular season.

The 49ers faced their first major adversity in two months after cruising through the second half of the year. But this lossplaces enormous pressure on the team heading into the final week. They still control their own destiny but have little margin for error with gaping holes at the quarterback position. After entering the game as arguably the hottest team in football, San Francisco walks away with far more questions than answers about what to expect moving forward.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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