Maiocco Overreactions

49ers overreactions: Purdy injury worse than loss to Eagles

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The end of the 49ers’ playoff run brings a conclusion to another season of 49ers Overreactions.

San Francisco's 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game does not require a lot of analysis.

After all, the 49ers played five snaps with a healthy Brock Purdy at quarterback, and the offense picked up two first downs.

On the sixth play, Purdy sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. And that was the game. It’s as simple as that.

But other things are not so simple, as we explore in this edition of 49ers Overreactions:

Purdy’s injury opens the door for Jimmy G to return next season. (FB: Walt Drouin)

Overreaction? Yes.

As great as Jimmy Garoppolo was for the 49ers’ franchise — and, yes, we used the word “great” — it is time for him to move on.

The veteran remained with the 49ers in 2022 to serve as Trey Lance’s backup after accepting a large cut in pay.

Garoppolo was a pro. And he played some of his best football after taking over when Lance was injured. But when Garoppolo exited with a fractured foot, the 49ers' offense did not fall off.

In fact, it got better.

And the second half of the season seemed to prove that Purdy is the real deal. The initial belief is that Purdy will be ready for training camp.

So, if that’s the case, where would Garoppolo stand on the depth chart? Starter? Backup? Third string?

Garoppolo likely will go to a team in free agency that can offer him a lot more certainty.

He figures to be a starter elsewhere in the NFL. And, of course, he will sign a contract that reflects that status.

Tom Brady to the rescue. (FB: Andrew Schmitz)

Overreaction? Yes.

There was something different about Tom Brady in 2022.

He did not look like the same guy. He had a lot of things going on in his personal life but we’re not going to speculate on why he looked and played the way he did.

Brady turns 46 in August. He says he does not know whether he is going to continue to play.

Typically, whenever a player or coach is not sure if they want to continue, that means they are already halfway out the door.

Only five teams scored fewer touchdowns than the Buccaneers this season. So it's not exactly like he worked wonders for Tampa Bay.

Brady’s dink-and-dunk style would fit in with the 49ers, for sure. But San Francisco would be sacrificing the mobility and agility they valued from Purdy and Lance.

When the 49ers were preparing for Dallas in the playoffs, they watched the film of the Cowboys' first-round matchup against the Bucs.

Nobody with the 49ers was yearning for the Tampa Bay quarterback they watched on film over the rookie they already had at that position.

Need to build in the trenches. Eagles bullied the Niners on both sides of the ball. Have no idea what will happen at quarterback. (FB: Rick Hogan)

Overreaction? No.

The 49ers have placed an emphasis on their offensive and defensive lines through the years. The loss to the Eagles proved they still have more work to do.

As good as the 49ers’ defensive line was this season, it does not even come close to what the Eagles built.

Philadelphia had four players with 11 or more sacks. They led the NFL with 70 sacks. The 49ers, meanwhile, had Nick Bosa rushing the passer and nobody else.

They need to get more out of second-round draft pick Drake Jackson. He showed some good signs early in the season. Then, he dropped off so much that he did not even suit up for five of the final six games, including all three in the postseason.

Meanwhile, the 49ers selected five offensive linemen over the past three drafts.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey likely is moving on, leaving Colton McKivitz the odds-on favorite to take his spot. The 49ers can be expected to draft more linemen this year -- both offensive and defensive.

The organization should be in good shape as the offensive line gains more experience and continues to work together.

The defense won’t be the same if Ryans leaves. (FB: Sean Wilson)

Overreaction? No.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was the most-popular assistant coach in recent 49ers history.

Nick Bosa explained it: “I think he has really figured out how to perfectly push us but not push us too hard.”

So, yes, the defense will not be the same. It will be different. Could it be better? Doubtful. After all, the 49ers’ defense ranked as the best in the NFL in yards and points allowed.

It is uncertain who 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will target to run his defense. Whomever steps into that role will have a tough act to follow.

Nothing to overreact when you're trying to win with a 4th string QB and injured 3rd string QB. You just have to accept the loss (FB: Ron Knee)

Overreaction? No.

We can talk about a lot of things, such as ...

—The blown officiating call of the Eagles’ fourth-down completion on the first drive of the game.

—The lack of a good replay, the Eagles’ hurry-up approach and Shanahan's decision not to throw the challenge flag.

—The play call on which Purdy was injured. It was a play-action pass with a designed deep shot for Brandon Aiyuk.

But, really, with Haason Reddick lined up wide and a defensive lineman over Mike McGlinchey, who was supposed to block Reddick? Tight end Tyler Kroft was active over Ross Dwelley because of his blocking.

—The decision to try and get points at the end of the first half, which led to Josh Johnson’s fumble on a perfect shotgun snap.

Yeah, we could discuss all of those things. But as soon as Purdy was injured, this game was over.

Fact.

That is why, really, the only heartbreaking thing about this game for the 49ers was Purdy’s injury.

This was an outcome that was obvious with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter, when Purdy was injured.

Life as we know it will never be the same. (FB: Zach Smith)

Overreaction? No.

The 49ers have 23 players scheduled for unrestricted free agency.

Most of the team’s nucleus will be back — players such stars as Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Trent Williams, Nick Bosa, Fred Warner, etc.

But there will be significant turnover on this team, probably somewhere in the 30-to-40 percent range. That means life is changing inside the locker room.

New relationships must be built, and chemistry will be tested.

RELATED: Maiocco: Purdy's injury opens 49ers' QB door for Lance, others

And when the 49ers next convene, they will have zero wins and zero losses.

The team will work for months and months and months with the goal of getting another chance at the ultimate prize.

After getting so close with a team they believed had what it took to win it all, they must start from the ground floor when the regular season opens in September.

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