The 49ers have been an off-season drama factory. They’re going to the NFC title game anyway

SANTA CLARA, CA – The play that sparked another controversy San Francisco 49ers The NFC Championship Game was off script. That’s about what would be a good fit for this version of the franchise.

With just over 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter the score was tied against Dallas Cowboys On Sunday, the 49ers quarterback Brooke Purdy He ran to his left and took his hand. Every choice was designer Being open to the play was not. He would probably have fallen dead, except for a giant white gauntlet in the air that belonged to a tight end George Keitelwhich was inexplicably leaking into empty space.

if you want Watch Purdy In the previous seven matches, this was where he was a bit different at left-back. A guy who could move, stretch, play, “run and do things” as Coach Kyle Shanahan once put it—even if that meant getting in over his head and doing something that wasn’t entirely advisable until it worked.

Normally, it involved relying on the abundant talent around him to make the play just right. And suddenly here was his narrow end, Eyes as wide as dinner plates, with his baseball glove-sized hand in the air. Purdy had to plant and throw a bit across the field, on a play that stretched too long and ran out of safe options. The kind of thing that’s dangerous for veterans and practically off the beaten track for a novice.

So Purdy, of course, dumped her. That’s what he does. That’s what this whole team does, going places that, if you look back far enough, weren’t really meant to go.

What happened next was the stuff of highlights and advanced physics. Purdy left his own 14-yard line, then watched Kettle flip it right-handed at 39…from his facemask at 40…to tiptoe left at 41…and finally, into Kettle’s hands as he dived at 47–just like a Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs He missed crushing his hit by inches. The 30-yard gain electrified the crowd as it was part of a 10-play, 91-yard drive that ended in a touchdown that set The 49ers never gave up in a 19-12 victory over the Cowboys.

“I’m literally not into reading [on the play]”,” Keitel said after the 49ers win. “I just kind of saw a space and he hadn’t thrown it yet, so I was just going up to the field. He gave me a hit ball and I was just trying to be dramatic. It’s for TV, man. Try being a little dramatic, push the ratings up. That’s all we’re here for.” for him “.

Well, that may not be the case All The 49ers are here for it. A Super Bowl berth is on the table again, with San Francisco now heading to face off Philadelphia Eagles On the road in the NFC title game next weekend. Kittle and Purdy created a circus shot that now takes this whole thing full circle, bringing the 49ers, one of TV’s biggest offseason series, to a place that seemed less likely as the season wore on.

Listening to Kettle on Sunday and watching the team shake as energy flooded into the locker room after the win over Dallas, that drama seemed so far away. And perhaps that is a great testament to teams having talent but also a bunch of dysfunction in the off-season. There is something that suggests that even when a lot seems uncertain or sideways, time, talent, or training (or all three) can put it all back together again.

Lest we forget, it wasn’t long after Kittle was making the media rounds this past June doing promotional work for his Tight End University project, when it seemed like every other question was descending from a thundercloud. extra wide Debo Samuel king Trade request And some believed that he played his last match with 49 players. Jimmy Garoppolo He was still recovering from shoulder surgery and was somehow on the list – while at the same time being told to step away. Nobody has a clue if he’s a sophomore quarterback Tri Lance He was able to be a meticulous passer-by, not to mention live up to the project ransom capital spent to obtain it. Wunderkind offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel departed to Miami Dolphin And he took his brilliant running game schemes with him. Free agency was mostly uneventful and the recruiting class had no first-round draft picks, but there are plenty of jokes about taking a quarterback (Purdie) with an irrelevant “Mr. Good time.

By the end of the seventh week, the 49ers were 3-4, Lance was completed for the season and Garoppolo was again the starting quarterback. Even trading for jogging Christian McCaffrey He seemed hopeful at best and desperate at worst. But that was the funny thing about this season for the Class 49. They’ve been written off as dead from the “big picture” several times over the past year. From the Lance-Garoppolo drama to the early injuries, from the stuttering start to then Having to turn to Purdy after Garoppolo’s injuryIt seemed the 49ers were somehow floating above the chaos if not inexplicably failing.

The Trey Lance-Jimmy Garoppolo quarterback position was one of the big headlines of the season for the 49ers. So naturally, rookie “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy led them to the NFC Championship game. (AP Photo/Josie Libby)

Of course, we were going to find out what we didn’t know a year ago, or six months ago…or even eight weeks ago. That defensive end Nick Bosa And the unit around him will become healthy and turn into a deadly tool in the hands of the coordinator Demico Ryans. McCaffrey would be a perfect fit for an offense that has become deep, healthy and timely. that some of the other NFC contenders will start to fade2 seed in the postseason and a pair of home games. Or, most important of all, Shanahan was right when he stuck with Purdy and claimed he was a viable first baseman, rather than making a play for another, more experienced quarterback (like, say, Baker Mayfield).

It’s strange how these things have come together for the Super Bowl winning teams the past few seasons. They have struggles on the field, messy decisions, or injuries – then they click on a track in January and forget everything else. Two years ago, we watched it happen with the Tampa Buccaneers and… Tom Brady, who were between the ages of 7 and 5 and were written off as of mid-December. last year? History forgets Los Angeles Rams Came in December 7-4 looking like just another solid team with a shot at making some noise.

Nobody remembers the drama around those teams or the details that weren’t quite there. Everyone assumed they had to look perfect and then failed to notice if they were both on the verge of perfection. That’s what this 49ers team can feel like: capable of stomping Seattle Seahawks And wear a cowboy, then maybe go on the road and drop Eagles team That some still doubt he can be beat with a rising midfielder at the helm.

Like previous Super Bowl winners, it’s the unwritten path. With a slew of people who didn’t want to be in town six months ago, a quarterback who wasn’t supposed to be in town at all, and a coaching staff that got knocked out of the NFC title game last season and probably missed the Super Bowl window. If you go back and keep track of the past year and every unexpected turn, you can find plenty of reasons why the 49ers won’t go the hitting distance again.

But they are going there anyway. That’s exactly what this team and this midfield do.

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