Who would have thought that a 49ers opening-drive touchdown would lead to a Kyle Shanahan existential crisis?
San Francisco jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in its 34-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at EverBank Stadium after quarterback Brock Purdy connected with wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk on a pass in the back of the end zone with 11:42 remaining in the first quarter.
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Purdy had nothing but green grass in front of him but chose not to run and stopped before the line of scrimmage to loft a risky throw into a crowd of 49ers and Jaguars players in the end zone. Fortunately for Purdy, Aiyuk came down with the score.
In speaking to reporters after the game, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan admittedly was conflicted about Purdy's risky throw and believes it was one of the worst decisions of his career ... that just so happened to work.
"Yeah that was honestly one of -- I can say this because he played well -- that was one of his worst decisions I think he's made since he's been here," Shanahan said with a sly grin. "It took me a while to get over it, but I thanked him for the touchdown. But that was not a good decision. He was fortunate with it, but he made a lot of really good plays and if you are going to make a bad decision and it's still a touchdown ... in the grand scheme of things he can tell me it was a really good decision.
San Francisco 49ers
"He knows that. He knows what he did wrong, but Aiyuk made him right."
It was all part of the plan, right?
While Purdy feels fortunate to have been bailed out by Aiyuk, he understands that he should have run the ball and isn't proud of his decision.
"It was just a normal keeper that we had up," Purdy told reporters postgame. "I got the edge and felt like I had a lot of time. The smart decision is probably continue to run, try to get as many yards as I can instead of putting the ball up like I did. But I saw BA in the back of the end zone sort of run in space, George [Kittle] as well. I just put it up towards the back and BA came down with it.
"I'm not necessarily proud of that play, honestly. I mean, yes it was a touchdown and everything. Great. BA made a great play, but I've got to be smart with the ball and if anything I should have ran the ball."
The touchdown was one of four total scores for the 49ers on Sunday and set the tone for the remainder of the game. Clearly, it also left Shanahan a little shell-shocked.
Sometimes risks pay off.