How Purdy is using Cowboys' challenge into Eagles preparation


SANTA CLARA — The yards and points were not as plentiful for the 49ers against the Dallas Cowboys’ defense as they’d been over the previous seven games with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.

Now, the 49ers face another stiff challenge against the star-studded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Purdy threw for 214 yards as the 49ers advanced with a 19-12 victory over the Cowboys. He was held without a touchdown pass after a streak of seven consecutive games with two or more scoring tosses.

Purdy complimented the Cowboys’ defensive line, secondary and their overall scheme under defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

“I do think it was one of the best defenses that I’ve seen, that our team has seen this year,” Purdy said. “And, obviously, this week’s going to be a great challenge with the front that Philadelphia has.

“I thought it was a good game to have and to work through and learn from for this week’s matchup.”

The Eagles, the top seed in the NFC, feature top-notch players at every level of their defense. Their defensive line registered 63.5 of their league-leading 70 sacks, including 16 from Hassan Reddick. Philadelphia had four players registered 11 or more sacks during the regular season.

Linebacker T.J. Edwards is considered one of the best in the business, and the Eagles are loaded in the defensive backfield, which features cornerbacks James Bradbury and Darius Slay.

The 49ers’ matchup with Dallas gives Purdy a good idea what to expect against Philadelphia.

“I think Dallas’ defense was the first defense in a while for us that was really good in all their areas,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said.

“I thought it was great test for him because I don’t think he played much different than he had in all the other games. Stuff was tighter, things were harder, but he still protected the ball very well and made a few big plays in some key moments.”

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Purdy has thrown just three interceptions and not fumbled in his eight games since taking over for injured Jimmy Garoppolo on Dec. 4 against the Miami Dolphins.

The rookie made a huge contribution toward the 49ers’ victory over Dallas as he helped the club convert seven of 14 third-down opportunities. The margin for error likely is to be even more thin against the Eagles.

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