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March 20, 2023

Former Eagle Javon Hargrave says the NFC Championship would've been different with Brock Purdy

The former Eagle revisited the NFC Championship and Brock Purdy's injury with San Francisco's KNBR after signing with the 49ers.

Javon Hargrave got his big free-agent deal from the 49ers and given the level of salt their fan base, and even their own players, have been outputting since the January blowout in the NFC Championship Game, it was only a matter of time before the San Francisco media asked the former Eagle for his perspective. 

As everyone knows well by now, Niners quarterback Brock Purdy, who was the unsung hero of the back half of their season, tore his UCL trying to get rid of the ball as edge rusher Haason Reddick was closing in. He couldn't throw after that and his backup Josh Johnson didn't fair much better against the Eagles' pass rush, eventually getting knocked out with a concussion, which forced Purdy back in to just hand the ball off. 

The 49ers' offense was rendered entirely ineffective and the Eagles trounced them 31-7 to go on to the Super Bowl. 

The game was a thorough beatdown by the Eagles overall, but walking away from it, the Niners kept clinging to the thought that things would've been different had Purdy never gone down. 

Hargrave couldn't disagree there. 

"I mean we kinda knew it was gonna be different when all you can do is run the ball when both quarterbacks go out and you know exactly what they're trying to do," Hargrave, calling into San Francisco radio's KNBR, said Friday. "Of course, it made it a lot easier for us. But trust me, we've seen Brock. We've seen the film on Brock escaping and we knew it was gonna be a challenge trying to get to him. It would've definitely been a different game had he stayed up."

Not much of a controversial take, really. Hargrave was the beneficiary of it but does have to cater to his new home, which still seems to be struggling a bit to move on. 

The real debate is in how different things really could've been, which may not have been that much. 

Hargrave had a sack of Johnson on a day when the Eagles' pass rush was blowing right through the 49ers' o-line from the jump. Quite honestly, it felt and still feels like they would've gotten to Purdy no matter what with the way he was being protected. 

Plus, Purdy can't make up for Jalen Hurts and the Eagles' offense dropping 31 points, or Nick Bosa on the other side of the ball getting completely locked down. 

So yeah, would Purdy avoiding injury have made for a different game? Yeah. Would it have been a complete game-changer? Depends on who you ask. I say no. 

Regardless, Hargrave's moving on to a nice payday and a still pretty solid defense, the Eagles are trying to restock to run it back, and the 49ers look like they're going to have all the fun of the Nick Foles-Carson Wentz debate but with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy — minus the Lombardi Trophy of course.

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