The San Francisco 49ers entered the 2022 season with high expectations. However, injuries resulted in the use of three different starting quarterbacks, and the once-favorite team for the Super Bowl was unable to advance and make it past the NFC Championship game.
Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy took over starting duties over the regular season stretch and into the playoffs, but suffered a UCL tear in the first quarter of the NFC title game. The injury forced veteran Josh Johnson into action, but he would soon go out with a concussion.
Some Niners players felt they did not have a fair chance to win the championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles due to quarterback injuries.
Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez agrees, saying he thinks Purdy’s injury hampered the team’s chances of making the big game.
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«I thought, honestly, that they would be playing in [the Super Bowl]”González told NBC Sports last week on Super Bowl Radio Row. «I still think they would have if Purdy didn’t get hurt.»
Despite being the final pick in last year’s NFL draft and not expected to contribute this season, Purdy won every regular-season game he started. He also led the 49ers to two playoff wins.
San Francisco’s front office created one of the most complete rosters in the league, which featured star tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel, All-Pro tackle Trent Williams and star running back Christian McCaffrey.
The Niners also had the top-ranked defense in the league last season.
Even with all those pieces in place, the quarterback position is still one of the most important, if not the most important, on the field.
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Purdy was hit behind the line of scrimmage by an Eagles pass rusher while attempting to throw a pass. The strip catch and fumble recovery pretty much ended the game, because Johnson was largely ineffective once he entered the contest as Purdy was forced to re-enter, but without the ability to throw a forward pass. .
«Believe [the 49ers] he had the most complete roster towards the end of the season. Philly’s roster was amazing as well,» Gonzalez said. «It’s sad that Purdy didn’t really get a chance to play in that football game. I think the game obviously would have been much, much closer than it was, and I still think San Francisco might have had a chance because their team was packed from head to toe with incredibly talented players.»
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49ers players, including McCaffrey, have also made comments about how the NFC title game played out.
«It’s hard to win an NFL football game without a quarterback, let alone the NFC championship game,» McCaffrey told «PFT Live» earlier this week. «I wish they would have changed the rule where you’re allowed to carry three … I think they should change that. It’s not good for us, obviously. It’s not good for the fans looking at not having a quarterback. I hope there’s something that them to do with that breakthrough so you can stay in the fight.»
Samuel echoed similar sentiments during a meeting with Adam Schein of «Mad Dog Sports Radio,» saying the outcome of the NFC title game would have been different if Purdy had been able to play the entire contest.
«Our defense was doing what it was supposed to do, and I feel like if Brock was at quarterback and how our offense moves, I don’t think it would have been close, if that makes sense,» Samuel told Schein on Radio Row. . . «Not sour grapes at all, it’s just what I see every day. I’m not salty at all, just stating facts.»
Seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady shared his thoughts on the Niners’ prospects in the NFC title game, saying the quarterback’s injuries left the team «without a chance to compete.»
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«Injuries play a part in every game, and your margin of error changes quite a bit,» he said during this week’s episode of «Let’s Go!» podcast. «Obviously, San Francisco didn’t have any chance to compete yesterday. It was hard to see that happen, but at the same time, it’s the reality of the sport.»
The injury-plagued season started early in the Bay Area, with second-year quarterback Trey Lance suffering a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, while veteran Jimmy Garoppolo ultimately suffered a season-ending injury. foot fracture at Week 13.