Brock Purdy

Ravens explain how they forced 49ers QB Purdy into four-INT game

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NBC Universal, Inc. Brock Purdy speaks to the media after the 49ers’ 33-19 loss to the Ravens.

Before the 49ers' Christmas night showdown with the Baltimore Ravens, Brock Purdy led the NFL in most quarterback metrics this season and was the top candidate for the league MVP award.

But Baltimore's dominant defense forced the typically composed signal-caller to have the worst game of his young career Monday at Levi's Stadium, as he threw four interceptions in San Francisco's 33-19 loss.

Ravens players and coaches explained afterward how they managed to throw normally unflappable Purdy off his game.

“The rush and coverage work together, and we all understood that," Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen said. "We just understood that we had to stop the run, and we’d be able to make plays. We capitalized on the plays that we were capable of making, and we just took off from there.

"We saw a few times where the rush wasn’t working with the coverage. They had a few plays here and there [where] we didn’t tackle, or we just missed the assignment on the coverage.

"When we see players working together like that, like my interception or Kyle [Hamilton]’s interception, everybody’s plays that they made, it was just both of our front line and back lines working together.” 

The 49ers rode a six-game win streak into the pivotal matchup, previously defeating the Arizona Cardinals 45-29, Seattle Seahawks 28-16 and 31-13, Philadelphia Eagles 42-19, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-14 and Jacksonville Jaguars 34-3.

Queen shared why he believes the 49ers were able to beat other teams -- but not the Ravens -- by such a wide margin.

“We play a brand of football that people don’t want to play," Queen said. "Everybody wants to be out here [being] cute, playing basketball on grass and stuff, and we [are not] with all that. You can do all that stuff. We’re just going to hit you in the mouth every play, honestly.

"We couldn’t care less about all the pretty stuff you do, gimmick stuff. You still have to line up and play football. You still have to get touched, so that’s our mindset. That’s how we want to come out and just hit people in the mouth.”

When asked if the 49ers play "basketball on grass," Queen said: "They definitely do, but they have an aggressive mindset to them. I can honestly say they are probably the most aggressive team that we [have] played so far."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes a collective effort produced the win.

“Defensively, it was all three levels," Harbaugh said. "We had pressure. We had the run game under control, [and] that helped us a lot. But we had pressure. I think our coverage was just fantastic, and we covered long, so we made them hold the ball, forcing them into some bad throws, and we had our hands on balls.

"We tipped balls, we had balls in the air, and guys caught them, and that helps, too. It was just a complete team effort on defense to get those interceptions.”

Defensive end Jadeveon Clowney credited the unit's success against Purdy to the rush and coverage working together, and applauded coordinator Mike Macdonald for putting his players in "good situations to go out there and make plays." Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey acknowledged the defense understood the challenge that Purdy presented and wanted to do their best to limit him, before ultimately doing much more.

"We tried. He makes all the right reads," Humphrey said. "It was really kind of hard to kind of flesh him [out]. We felt if we could get the lead, then maybe that would be our best chance. We were able to get the lead and kind of attempt to flesh him, but it’s hard to stop that guy. He kind of makes all the right reads. Even though he made mistakes tonight, he usually doesn't make too many mistakes.

“[We were] really just flying to the ball. The one of Kyle [Hamilton]’s [interceptions], he went to go rush the quarterback and then got a pick — so stuff like that, just running to the ball. ‘B-Steve’ [Brandon Stephens] tipped it up. A lot of things kind of bounced our way tonight, but it was a full team effort, just running to the ball, hustling, trying to take fire to fire.

"That team ... I think everybody’s a little sore. There are a lot of teams that want to be physical. That team is a real-deal, physical team [and] a really good team, so for us to come out and kind of put on a show was really good for us.”

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