On a day where injuries derailed the 49ers offense, George Kittle summed the outing up with a brutally honest assessment following Sunday’s 31–7 loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship game.
The star tight end contributed three catches for 32 yards in the contest, though it’s fair to wonder if Kittle’s impact may have been greater had quarterback Brock Purdy not suffered an early-game elbow injury. To make matters worse, backup Josh Johnson struggled mightily prior to exiting the game with a concussion, forcing San Francisco to turn back to a hampered Purdy who could hardly throw.
After the game, Kittle lamented over his team’s quarterback woes by describing the tough loss as only he can. “How does it feel to lose in an NFC championship game because I don’t have a quarterback? Pretty sh—ty to be honest. Yeah, that’s about it,” he said.
Kittle’s reaction to the NFC title loss is more than understandable considering his team’s chances at a victory took a massive hit almost immediately after kickoff. Winners of their last 12 games entering Sunday, the 49ers had been one of the NFL’s best teams since the seventh-round rookie QB took over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo after Week 12.
Purdy, who displayed great chemistry with Kittle in his previous seven starts, left the game in the first quarter after taking a big hit on his right arm from Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick during the Niners’ first possession. The play resulted in a fumble, with Philadelphia recovering, following a review.
With Purdy listed as questionable, the 49ers turned to Johnson, their only other active QB, to lead the way, but the 15-year veteran was unable to get anything going against Philly’s brutal pass rush. Johnson went 7-of-13 for 74 yards while taking two sacks before eventually getting ruled out after sustaining a concussion on the first drive of the third quarter.
Things continued to get worse for the Niners as the injured Purdy returned to the game with the team down, 21–7. At one point, Purdy’s injury forced do-it-all running back Christian McCaffrey, who scored on a 23-yard run in the second quarter, to do a little more and briefly spend time at QB.
Purdy finished the game 4-of-4 for 23 yards to end what was a promising year for the 23-year-old following his emergence with Garoppolo out. During the regular season, Purdy logged 1,374 yards, 13 TDs and four interceptions, a performance that will surely make training camp quite interesting with incumbent starter Trey Lance set to return from a season-ending ankle injury he sustained in Week 2.