San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy and Philadelphia Eagles QB Jalen Hurts will meet for the first time in the NFL since their instant classic in college.
Purdy and Hurts met as Iowa State’s and Oklahoma’s quarterbacks, respectively, in 2019 in an epic game that went down to the wire and saw both QBs put up elite performances.
The game came down to the final play after the Cyclones missed on a two-point conversion attempt with 24 seconds left, leaving the Sooners to win 42-41.
Purdy finished 19-for-30 for 282 yards and five touchdowns and added 55 yards and a score on the ground.
Hurts was equally as impressive in the win, going 18-for-26 for 273 yards and three touchdowns with 68 yards and two scores coming on the ground.
Though Purdy and Hurts led an exciting offensive showdown in college, Sunday’s matchup won’t be quite the same, as both players will be facing tougher opposition against two of the best defenses in the league.
San Francisco’s Defense Pushes Team Forward
Despite the 49ers having their lowest-scoring game of the season with Purdy at the helm, San Francisco moved past Dallas due to strong defensive play.
The Cowboys held the 49ers, who averaged 26.5 points a game in the regular season, to 19 points. However, Dallas’ 12 points was also one of its lowest scores of the season after averaging 27.5 points in the regular season.
San Francisco intercepted Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott twice, which the 49ers turned into two field goals, the majority of their scoring last week.
The Niners reached the end zone once in the fourth quarter, a result of a 30-yard completion from Purdy to tight end George Kittle that running back Christian McCaffrey finished off, and the defense did the rest.
Dallas had one more chance late in the game down seven to come back, however San Francisco’s defense forced a three-and-out, capped with a sack on Prescott. The Cowboys were held to 282 total yards.
The 49ers had the No. 1-ranked defense in the regular season and they have been solid in the postseason as well. Teams have averaged 307 total yards and 17.5 points against San Francisco in the playoffs, third and fourth respectively, and its defense will remain key against Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Moves On With Ease
The Eagles didn’t have as much trouble winning their game as San Francisco, as Philadelphia had the game put away by halftime.
Philadelphia had no issue scoring against the Giants, leading 28-0 by the break and adding 10 more in the second half. The Eagles lead playoff teams in both total yards and points, totaling 416 yards and 38 points in the postseason.
Much of Philadelphia’s offensive success against the Giants came on the ground, where it also leads playoff teams with 268 rushing yards.
Running back Kenneth Gainwell led the Eagles with 12 rushes for 112 yards and a touchdown while running back Miles Sanders added 90 yards on 17 carries.
Though the Eagles were able to have their way offensively against the Giants, they’ll face a tougher test when they meet the 49ers in the Conference Championship.
New York had the eighth-worst defense in the regular season, allowing teams to average 358.2 total yards, while San Francisco’s 300.6 yards allowed was first in the league.
Philadelphia’s passing offense was ninth-ranked in the regular season, averaging 241.5 yards a game. It will be needed against the 49ers second-ranked rushing defense, allowing 77.7 rushing yards in the regular season.
San Francisco vs. Philadelphia Prediction
The last time these quarterbacks met was in college and resulted in a shootout. However, the rematch between Purdy and Hurts won’t be that way this time as two of the league’s top defenses go head-to-head.
San Francisco stifled another top offense last week in Dallas while Philadelphia had no trouble slowing the Giants. Offensively, the 49ers ran into trouble, but Purdy stayed poised and free of turnovers in the win.
The Eagles, meanwhile, bulldozed New York. The game should be tight, and in a matchup like that, the home team has the advantage and should grab a close win.