The San Francisco 49ers are winners of six-straight games and improve to 9-4 on the year with their 35-7 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy penned his name to the history books on Sunday afternoon, becoming the first quarterback to secure a win against Brady in his first-career start. The defense also came up with an NFL first; they're the first unit to be No. 1 in total and scoring defense and defeat Brady past the Week 5 mark.
"I was really eager to see it and really happy for him (Purdy)," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "He's shown all of us this a bunch. It's not out in the games, but it's just how he's been since he's been here. He's been extremely consistent... Him going out now, I'm just happy that he was able to go out there and perform at the level that a lot of us thought he was capable of. I know the players felt that way. I know the coaches felt that way."
Purdy Secures a Win in His First-Career Start
It's time to let go of the "Mr. Irrelevant" nickname for good. The 49ers starting quarterback delivered in his first-career start, leading the 49ers to a dominant 35-7 win over the NFC South leaders. Purdy stepped in last week in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) and went 25-of-37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He followed up that performance by completing 16-of-21 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and a 134.0 passer rating in his first NFL start.
"I'm just excited that we won," Purdy said. "Just to do what it takes to win, defense played great, offense did their thing, and to come out to win in a crucial part of the season especially going into a Thursday night game coming up, I'm just very excited."
Deebo Samuel Exits the Game Early with an Ankle Injury
The 49ers 'wideback' was carted off the field in the second quarter with an ankle injury after getting rolled up on during a rushing attempt up the middle. Samuel was first designated as questionable to return before being ruled out completely. Samuel contributed four carries for 21 yards and a touchdown to the ground game, and through the air, he added another four catches for 43 yards prior to sustaining his injury. Shanahan confirmed postgame that Samuel did not fracture anything, but his injury has yet to be confirmed.
"It's always tough to watch somebody go down, especially one of your guys, a guy that is in your room," wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said. "It's tough, but we had a task to go out there and complete. We got to talk to him and see where he was at when we went in at halftime. We went out there after halftime and finished the mission."
The veteran safety intercepted the Buccaneers starting quarterback on the opening drive of the second half, notching his second pick of the 2022 season. Gipson Sr. returned the ball 36 yards to set up San Francisco's offense on Tampa Bay's 38 yard line. On the ensuing drive, the 49ers turned that interception into points in two plays; Purdy handed the ball off to Christian McCaffrey for the 38-yard rushing touchdown.
The Buccaneers next offensive series ended in similar fashion with linebacker Dre Greenlaw producing the second takeaway of the game. Greenlaw intercepted Brady on first-and-10 at San Francisco's 24 yard line. At the conclusion of the game, Greenlaw had Brady sign his interception ball.
"Man, the worst thing he could tell me was 'No,'" Greenlaw said. "He's a good guy, to be able to sign that ball after he threw those picks, that's big time. I appreciate it. He's the greatest."
Defense Dominates, Again
The 49ers had a second half shutout streak going in Weeks 8 to 12, and in Week 14, the 49ers kept the Buccaneers scoreless for the entire first half while San Francisco's offense put up 28 points in that time. In the second half of Sunday's contest, the 49ers defensive unit allowed just one score and racked up three takeaways, two of which came off interceptions. Brady had three interceptions headed into this Week 14 matchup and nearly doubled his count in one game. Greenlaw boasts one of the more impressive stat lines from DeMeco Ryans' unit, closing out the game with a team-high 15 tackles, an interception and one pass defended.
McCaffrey Records His Second Multi-Touchdown Game with San Francisco
The 49ers dual-threat running back added a score on the ground and through the air for the first time since Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams. McCaffrey hauled in a 27-yard pass from Purdy with 7:55 left in the second quarter to put San Francisco up 21-0. He later followed that up with a 38-yard rushing touchdown at the start of the third quarter to extend the lead to 35-0. He closed out the game with 14 carries for 119 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and through the air, he had 2 catches for 34 yards and another score.
Aiyuk Catches TD Pass No. 7
The 49ers wideout was on the receiving end of Purdy's second touchdown pass of the game. Purdy hit Aiyuk near the left sideline for a 32-yard touchdown in the final minute of the first half to take a 28-0 lead over Tampa Bay. The touchdown is Aiyuk's seventh of the season and solidifies him as the team's reception yards (698) and receiving touchdowns leader (7) of 2022. He finished the game with two catches for 57 yards and the TD.
Injury List for Week 14
In addition to Samuel's ankle injury, San Francisco had four other players sustain injuries. Defensive lineman Kevin Givens suffered a knee injury in the first quarter. He was designated as questionable to return but did not see game action for the rest of Sunday's contest. Cornerback Dontae Johnson injured his knee in the second quarter and was ruled out for the remainder of the game. Cornerback Samuel Womack III was evaluated for a head injury in the second half and per Shanahan, has entered the concussion protocol. In the fourth quarter, defensive lineman Kerry Hyder Jr. suffered an ankle injury, and Ambry Thomas is also working through an ankle injury. The team's starting quarterback is dealing with an oblique injury, but per the head coach, that is not why Purdy exited the game in the fourth quarter. Shanahan was asked in his postgame address if Purdy's oblique issue could sideline him for next week.
"I wouldn't say it doesn't," Shanahan responded. "He was able to finish the game today, but we've got to see when he comes in tomorrow when the adrenaline wears off and stuff like that."