May 05, 2023
Reset the clock. Deebo Samuel complained about the NFC Championship again.
"We lost because we played with 10 people," said the 49ers receiver in an interview with Complex, the latest stop on San Francisco's seemingly never-ending salt mine tour.
And once again, the crux of his argument was that if Brock Purdy never got injured, things would've been different.
"100 percent," Samuel said. "I ain’t going to keep going on about what could’ve happened and what would’ve happened but yeah, it would’ve definitely been a different outcome."
He isn't going to keep going on about it, he says, and yet...
That day, January 29 at the Linc, the Eagles thrashed the Niners 31-7 to advance to the Super Bowl. Haason Reddick recorded two sacks as he and the Eagles' pass rush tore San Francisco's O-line apart, while Jalen Hurts and the offense ran all over Nick Bosa – the eventual Defensive Player of the Year – and a gassed Niners defense that was all out of answers.
It was a rout – a thorough one at that – but one that also had a clear tipping point early, when Reddick burst through the line and got his hands in the way of Purdy's arm as he tried to follow through on a throw. The result of the play was a fumble, and the motion tore the UCL in Purdy's elbow. He was out. Josh Johnson had to come in as the backup but he was unprepared, and a concussion from a hard hit later forced him out too, completely taking away any sort of passing game for the Niners since all that was left was Purdy and all he could do was hand the ball off.
Purdy and the Niners were on an impressive hot streak heading into that game, so would things have been different had he stayed healthy for it? Probably somewhat, but in all likelihood not enough to make all that significant of a difference. By that point, Purdy was the third quarterback San Francisco was on that season – after Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo both went down earlier in the year – and the reason for that was laid pretty bare against the Eagles. Kyle Shanahan's playcalling just didn't leave him, nor Johnson, protected at all, and Reddick and co., the league's fiercest pass rush, took full advantage.
But none of that has kept Niners players from missing the forest for the trees ever since, as they try to insist that they were the better team that day at seemingly any and every opportunity, with Samuel at the forefront of it.
"(My) most hated team is the Eagles right now. 100 percent," Samuel told Complex. "I mean hey man, we done wiped the Rams so many times. All the trash talk coming from the Eagles fan base and the players, you just get tired of that."
Again, the Eagles won that game, which was more than four months ago, thirty-one...to seven.
A.J. Brown's input on the matter:
Deebo a troll y’all, he don’t care . He just wanted to stir up everyone day— AJ Brown (@1kalwaysopen_) May 5, 2023
Something I will address real quick , I know I don’t have to but I am .— AJ Brown (@1kalwaysopen_) May 5, 2023
I don’t get caught up in the rivalry because that leaves room for emotion. I play at the highest level and the only thing on my mind is dominating. Not talking, but dominating.
Follow Nick on Twitter: @itssnick
Like us on Facebook: PhillyVoice Sports