NFL Playoffs: Brock Purdy leads the San Francisco 49ers, and the Jacksonville Jaguars stage a stunning comeback
Brock Purdy continued his outstanding NFL debut as the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 on the first night of the playoffs this season.
This season’s ‘Mr Irrelevant,’ the last man chosen in the NFL draft, has won all six games since injuries forced him to take over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.
After trailing 27-0 late in the second quarter, the Jacksonville Jaguars staged the third-largest comeback in playoff history, defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 31-30.
Although Seattle led 17-16 at halftime, Purdy passed for three touchdowns and ran for another as the hosts won their 11th straight game.
The 23-year-old is only the seventh rookie quarterback in NFL history to win their first playoff game, and he hopes to be the first to reach the Super Bowl.
“I’m just taking it day by day,” he said. “We have a goal of winning the whole thing, but it’s a tournament, so anything can happen.
“I’ve got such a great team; it’s not a one-man show, and I’m very fortunate to be able to take them from here.”
As it happened, the Jaguars completed a massive comeback following the 49ers’ victory.
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Purdy has been the best quarterback in the NFL statistically since beating Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers on his first start in week 14 of the regular season.
That helped the 49ers secure the second seed in the NFC, and Purdy connected with Christian McCaffrey for a three-yard touchdown against Seattle.
The Seahawks responded with touchdowns from Kenneth Walker and DK Metcalf, putting them ahead.
The 49ers, on the other hand, were dominant after opening the second half with a 13-play drive that ended with Purdy punching it into the end zone from a yard out.
San Francisco forced a turnover on Seattle’s next possession and made them pay with an Elijah Mitchell touchdown early in the fourth quarter.
Purdy then found Deebo Samuel in space for a 74-yard touchdown, helping Purdy finish with 332 passing yards before Metcalf claimed a late consolation.
Lawrence recovers from a shaky start
Trevor Lawrence joins Doug Pederson in celebrating.
At halftime, Jaguars coach Doug Pederson stated that Trevor Lawrence and his team “just had to keep chipping away” at the Chargers’ lead.
Saturday marked the first time since the 1986 season that every starting quarterback made their first postseason start, and despite a shaky start, Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence masterminded a stunning comeback.
After being intercepted four times in the first half, the Jaguars’ first-round pick in 2021 bounced back to throw four touchdown passes and put the Jaguars in position for Riley Patterson to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired.
“You couldn’t write a crazier script,” Lawrence remarked. “We know we’re always counted out of these games, but we don’t mind because we enjoy them.
“We knew our defense would get some stops and we’d have enough chances to win the game – I’m almost speechless just seeing what belief can do.”
Two of Lawrence’s interceptions resulted in rushing touchdowns for Austin Ekeler, and quarterback Justin Herbert connected with Gerald Everett to put the Chargers ahead.
Evan Engram’s touchdown at halftime made it 27-7, giving the Jaguars hope in their first playoff game in five years.
Lawrence then connected with Marvin Jones and Zay Jones late in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 30-20, and he added a two-point conversion after Christian Kirk’s touchdown to pull Jacksonville within two points with just over five minutes remaining.
That meant a field goal would win it for the hosts, and after the Chargers were forced to go three-and-out, a 25-yard run by Travis Etienne set up Patterson for a thrilling 36-yard field goal.
The first round of the NFL playoffs, known as wildcard weekend, continues on Sunday with three more games.