Shanahan strikes optimum balance with Purdy, 49ers' run game


Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy continues to shine in his role as the 49ers’ starter.

And the reason the 49ers are rolling with a 12-game win streak entering the NFC Championship Game is, in large part, due to what Purdy has not done.

Purdy has avoided making critical turnovers. In two playoff games, Purdy has not thrown an interception or lost a fumble.

“He’s been unbelievable at that,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

“I think that’s the No. 1 thing he’s done. And to be able to be as good with the ball as he has while still making a number of the plays he has, that’s definitely the thing I’ve been most-impressed with.”

Purdy’s veteran-like play has enabled the 49ers to strike a balance between running and passing.

The 49ers’ balance is in stark contract to 2019, when the 49ers ran the ball 111 times on their 173 plays during their three postseason games with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback.

The 49ers’ run game dominated the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the playoffs before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

In the past two weeks, the 49ers have attempted 65 running plays for 294 yards, amounting to a 4.5-yard average, with two touchdowns. That total includes seven runs from Purdy for 24 yards and a touchdown.

Of Purdy’s seven rushing attempts in the postseason, three have been scrambles for 21 yards, three designed runs for 4 yards and a touchdown, and one kneel down.

Meanwhile, Purdy has completed 37 of 59 pass attempts for 546 yards. He has been sacked three times, and his average per pass attempt is 9.2 yards.

In postseason victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, Shanahan called 61 run plays, 65 pass plays and one kneel down.

Shanahan said he tries to be balanced and unpredictable as much as possible on offense to not allow the opposition to “tee off in any direction.”

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Ultimately, Shanahan said he is going to call a game that he believes gives the 49ers their best chance at winning.

“We feel we have to adapt to the style we think we need to play to win that given game,” he said. “The better defensive lines you go against, the better defenses you go against, that style usually leads to slowing guys down and not allowing other teams to play at what they want to do.

“It also gives you a much higher percentage of winning the turnover battle, too.”

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