McCaffrey ‘no longer shocked’ by heroism of 49ers rookie QB Purdy

Christian McCaffrey says rookie quarterback Brock Purdy no longer surprises him after another outstanding performance in the San Francisco 49ers’ 19-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys in Sunday’s NFC Divisional Round.

With the win, the 49ers advanced to their second straight NFC Championship game and third in the last four seasons.

Purdy, who only had his chance as a QB starter after injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, completed 19-of-29 passes for 214 yards, and the 49ers focused on running play to counter the Cowboys’ strong defense.

Last week, Purdy became the first rookie to throw for 200 yards without interceptions in a postseason game, and he confirmed it again.

The 23-year-old quarterback is now 7-0 in starts this season, with 14 touchdowns and two interceptions, and has a legitimate claim to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback next season.

“You see it every day in the day he’s getting ready, you see it in practice and in games, he was just an impressive guy when he was in a cluster,” McCaffrey told reporters of Purdy.

“I’m not in shock anymore – he’s just who he is now.”

McCaffrey scored the game-winning touchdown to end the drive where Purdy linked up with George Kittle who pulled out a great catch to gain 30 yards.

“It was unbelievable,” said McCaffrey. “It was one of the best catches I’ve ever seen.

“He’s an exceptional player who does exceptional things. And such plays definitely add momentum.”

Kittle said he wasn’t the main character of the game, juggling Purdy’s threaded pass, with the QB intending to hit receiver Brandon Aiyuk at the intersection, with Deebo Samuel and Kyl Jaszczyk his other options. Instead, with neither of these options open to him, Purdy improvised.

“I’m not into reading at all,” said Kittle. “Brock is a good quarterback who has his eyes up when the game is falling apart and his #1 and #2 weren’t open so he could look inside and see a white gloved hand fly up and give me a shot at the ball, that’s just really good quarterback play.”

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan didn’t get carried away by Purdy’s play in a match he expected to be tight against the Cowboys.

“He played some plays today,” Shanahan said. “There was nothing perfect by any means, for the whole attack and the whole team, but in this match it felt like play-off football.

“We played against a team we’d been watching all week and we had a feeling it was going to be a game like that. That’s why we put emphasis on the running game on both sides.

“We stressed out to protect the ball and try to score turnovers – we’ve achieved both – but you do these things and you still have to make some plays.”

This Sunday, San Francisco will face the Philadelphia Eagles for a spot in Super Bowl LVII.

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