Brock Purdy impresses again as 49ers secure the NFC West title. Kyle Shanahan’s expertise as a play-caller was evident as Purdy found success on the field, completing 11 straight passes (one of which was nullified by penalty) at the start of the game. One standout moment was a beautifully executed touchdown pass to George Kittle, where Purdy faked out the defense with two screens before connecting with the open tight end for a 28-yard score. Despite almost throwing an interception in the second quarter, Purdy recovered and navigated through some difficult situations with poise. Through three games, he has thrown for six touchdowns and one interception, with a completion percentage of nearly 67%. It’s clear that Purdy is a talented young quarterback and a valuable asset to the 49ers as they claim the NFC West title.
The Seattle Seahawks’ struggles can’t be solely attributed to Geno Smith’s performance. While the defense did well to keep the team in the game, the offense struggled, only managing to score two field goals. The offensive line allowed three sacks and nine QB hits, and Travis Homer’s fumble was costly. While Smith didn’t have his best game, he took some hard hits and continued to encourage his teammates to fight until the end. The positive reaction from the Seahawks’ sideline to Smith getting hit out of bounds by the 49ers’ Talanoa Hufanga demonstrates the respect his teammates have for him. In order for the Seahawks to secure a wild-card berth, they will need to step up and support Smith more.
The presence of George Kittle greatly enhances the 49ers’ chances of success. In Thursday’s game against the Seahawks, Kittle scored two long touchdowns, totaling 28 and 54 yards, and finished with four catches for 93 yards, his highest output since Week 7. Kittle is often limited by injuries, but when healthy, he is one of the top tight ends in the league, known for his blocking skills in addition to his receiving ability. Purdy and Kittle have demonstrated strong chemistry on the field, and Kittle’s contributions make the 49ers a formidable team.
The Seahawks will regret their missed opportunities early in the game. Despite being outplayed, they were only down 7-3 late in the second quarter. However, a dropped interception by Quandre Diggs and a fumble by Travis Homer near midfield, recovered by the 49ers and converted into a touchdown, made it much harder for Seattle to make a comeback. These plays allowed the 49ers to take a commanding lead, making it an 18-point deficit for the Seahawks. It could have been worse if Deommodore Lenoir’s would-be pick-six had not been negated on the next series.
Controversial roughing-the-passer calls continue to plague the NFL. Grady Jarrett, Chris Jones, and Jaelen Phillips have all had sacks wiped out due to questionable roughing calls, prompting discussion at the recent owners’ meeting about making roughing the passer reviewable. The latest instance occurred on Thursday when Nick Bosa was penalized 15 yards for roughing Geno Smith, even though Bosa seemed to be just playing football. While roughing calls are down compared to last season, with an average of one every 2.9 games through Week 14 compared to one every 1.8 games last season, they remain a point of contention and may eventually lead to changes in the rule.