Reports of Brock Purdy struggling against the Cowboys on Sunday have been greatly exaggerated.
Purdy completed 19 of 29 passing attempts for 215 yards against Dallas, making him the first rookie since at least 1970 to throw for more than 200 yards in consecutive postseason games.
An explosive pass play is one in which the offense gained at least 15 yards. The San Francisco offense had a total of nine possessions Sunday and Purdy recorded a completion of at least 16 yards on seven of them.
Here is each of those explosive plays:
First Quarter: First and ten, 49ers 30.
Out of shotgun, Purdy fakes a handoff to Christian McCaffrey then quickly turns and fires a strike down the seam to George Kittle for a gain of 30.
This is a high-level NFL throw from Purdy. If you watch closely, you will notice this throw is all arm as he doesn’t step into it. He spins on his left foot and gets it out fast.
First Quarter: Third and fifteen, Cowboys 27
The 49ers start their third possession in great field possession after an interception by Deommodore Lenoir. Following a sack and run by Christian McCaffrey they find themselves facing third and long.
Kyle Shanahan dials up a play to put Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in conflict. With Brandon Aiyuk running a deep curl and McCaffrey running a flat, Vander Esch needs to choose who to cover. If the linebacker drops the throw goes to the flat and if he goes to the flat it opens up the curl.
Seeing Vander Esch chase McCaffrey, Purdy sets his feet and hits Aiyuk for a 17 yard completion to move the chains.
Another element to this play is the route run by Ray-Ray McCloud. Lined up as the number two receiver, second from the sideline, McCloud takes an inside path before breaking to the out. By doing this he takes the Dallas defender with him and creates a wide-open throwing lane for the quarterback.
Second Quarter: Second and 19, Cowboys 46
This play shows the attention the Dallas defense was giving to George Kittle.
Kittle runs a bend seam up the right side drawing the coverage of both linebackers, opening the middle of the field.
Deebo Samuel runs a short return route into void created by Kittle and Purdy hits him for a gain of 17 to put the 49ers in position for a game tying field goal.
Second Quarter: Second and ten, 49ers 47.
San Francisco gets the ball late in the first half when Fred Warner picks off Dak Prescott, the second interception of the game for the Dallas quarterback.
After a couple running plays and a completion to Deebo Samuel, Kyle Shanahan lets the clock run down. The intention here is to make sure Dallas does not get the ball back before half and the 49ers go in with the lead.
To help give Purdy time to throw Shanahan has McCaffrey chip Micah Parsons while the quarterback does a slight roll to his left. Brandon Aiyuk takes the cornerback deep, leaving a void that is filled by Jauan Jennings who is running a deep over route.
After missing this throw earlier in the quarter Purdy gets this one to Jennings for a gain of 21. Robbie Gould comes on a few plays later to give San Francisco a 9-6 lead at the half with a 50-yard field goal.
Third Quarter: First and ten, 49ers 21.
Off play action Purdy rolls out to his left. With his primary receivers covered he finds George Kittle down middle of the field and the tight end makes a bobbling catch for a 31 yard gain.
What makes this play even more incredible is Kittle wasn’t supposed to be an option.
“It was a bootleg. Me and Kyle Juszczyk are on the backside selling the outside zone away to get the defensive man across our face. Juice is the hot guy. We’re trying to get the ball to either, Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel, I’m literally not even in the read,” said Kittle after the game. “I just saw kind of a space and he hadn’t thrown it yet, so I was just going up the field and he gave me a catchable ball.”
This is an example of two players making a great football play.
Fourth Quarter: First and ten, 49ers 25.
Holding onto a four point lead after a Dallas field goal, Purdy opens the 49ers possession with a dart down the middle to George Kittle for a gain of 17.
This is the same play the 49ers used in the second quarter to get into position to tie the game at six. The difference this time is they catch Dallas in their five-man front.
Purdy sees that the safety tasked with covering Kittle is playing outside leverage and gets the ball out quickly to the tight end.
Fourth Quarter: First and ten, 49ers 26
Holding a seven-point lead with just 2:05 left to play every fan in Levi’s Stadium is expecting a run. So was the Cowboys coaching staff as they again go with a five-man front leaving only one linebacker in the middle of the field.
Instead of going with a run, Kyle Shanahan dials up a pass. George Kittle again beats the Cowboys safety to the inside and Purdy hits him for a gain of 16.
That’s what you call having trust in your rookie quarterback.