49ers vs. Seahawks score, takeaways: Brock Purdy makes playoff history, accounts for 4 TDs in rout of Seattle

The 49ers took Seattle's best punch in the first half and were able to withstand it, thanks to a strong effort over the final two quarters that allowed San Francisco to run away with the 41-23 victory and advance to the divisional round.

The postseason lights didn't seem to bother rookie Brock Purdy, who finished with 332 yards and four total touchdowns in the win. He became the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl era to throw and run for a touchdown in his first career playoff start. Furthermore, he's the first rookie quarterback with four total touchdowns in a postseason game.  

Despite being one of the biggest underdogs on the Super Wild Card Weekend slate, the Seahawks entered Levi's Stadium and gave the Niners a run for their money in the first half. After a sluggish start, Geno Smith and the offense put together back-to-back touchdown drives and netted a 56-yard field goal to find themselves up 17-16 entering the locker room at halftime. However, Seattle was unable to sustain that level of play in the second half and the Niners flipped the switch. 

San Francisco put together three straight touchdown drives to open up the second half, which broke the game wide open. The big swing came after a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive by the 49ers where they retook the lead. For the moment, it seemed like Smith and the Seahawks were going to answer with a scoring drive of their own, but Smith fumbled the ball inside the red zone and was recovered by Nick Bosa. That led to another touchdown drive by the 49ers and effectively sent Seattle packing. Smith finished 25 of 35 for 253 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. 

For a more detailed breakdown of how this game unfolded, check out our takeaways below. 

Why the 49ers won

Seattle gave the 49ers a run for their money in the first half, but it rarely seemed like rookie quarterback Brock Purdy was phased by what Seahawks threw at him. San Francisco started the game strong with 13 points on its first three possessions and should have gone into halftime with the lead had it not been for an unnecessary roughness penalty on Jimmie Ward that allowed the Seahawks to get into field goal range and cap off a 17-point second quarter. 

However, it's the second half where the 49ers truly showed that they could be capable of going on a special run over these next few weeks. Out of the gate in the third quarter, they went on a long 75-yard touchdown drive that churned nearly eight minutes off the clock. San Francisco got sharper on third down offensively over this stretch, and defensively started to get after Geno Smith and create turnovers. Nick Bosa's fumble recovery off a strip sack changed the complexion of the game and kicked off a 49ers blowout. That fired off what would turn out to be a 25-0 run that left Seattle in the dust. 

San Francisco enjoyed a number of chunk plays, including a 74-yard touchdown catch and run by Deebo Samuel that was the cherry on top of the three consecutive touchdown drives to begin the second half.

On top of Samuel's 74-yard catch, Christian McCaffrey had a 68-yard run, Brandon Aiyuk had a 31-yard reception, and Jauan Jennings hauled in a 33-yard catch, so everyone was getting in on the action with massive gains. Samuel finished with 165 yards from scrimmage, while McCaffrey also had a big day out of the backfield, totaling 136 yards on 17 touches.

Meanwhile, Purdy was absolutely sensational in the second half. After completing 9 of 19 for 147 yards and a score in through the opening two quarters, the rookie finished the game 9 of 11 for 185 yards and three total touchdowns with zero turnovers. This phenomenal playoff debut was also a historic one that even put him in the same breath as Tom Brady

As a team, San Francisco registered 505 yards of total offense. 

Why the Seahawks lost

It was a tale of two halves for the Seahawks. Pete Carroll's team essentially played perfectly for the majority of the first half. Even as it got down, 10-0, after going three-and-out on its first two possessions, it was able to find its footing and put together a 17-point second quarter that found itself up at the break. At that point, Geno Smith had completed 9 of 10 for 104 yards and a touchdowns, and had zero turnovers. 

The Seahawks were able to edge out the 49ers in time of possession thanks to some solid running by Kenneth Walker. They were also solid defensively against this high-powered offense of the 49ers. Seattle stopped the Niners on four of their five third-down situations in the first half and largely kept the offense at bay. Christian McCaffrey's 68-yard run inflated their stats, but it was a strong effort all around. 

As the Seahawks made zero mistakes, they were able to capitalize on San Francisco's, particularly in the closing seconds of the first half when they were able to move down the field thanks to an unnecessary roughness penalty that opened the door for Jason Myers to boot a 56-yard field goal to take the lead at the break. 

However, the wheels came off in the second half. Defensively, they could no longer contain the 49ers offense, which rattled off three-straight touchdown drives. They also became a turnstile on third down, allowing the Niners to move the chains on five of their six third-down situations. At the same time, the offense started to crater. Smith had two turnovers down the stretch, including a fumble in the red zone that swung the game directly in San Francisco's favor. After having zero penalties in the first half, Seattle finished with five, which resulted in 30 yards going in the wrong direction.

Turning point

The Seahawks had the bulk of the momentum going into halftime, especially after taking the lead with that long field goal. However, the Niners came out of the locker room in the second half and flexed their championship potential by churning out a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that gave them back the lead.

That near eight-minute drive did not seem to sap Seattle's momentum, as it responded by marching into the red zone. But with a chance to retake the lead, Charles Omenihu stripped Geno Smith, and Nick Bosa recovered. That eliminated a scoring opportunity for the Seahawks, and the Niners offense carried the baton by marching 70 yards down the field again for another score to go up by double digits. From that point, the game was blown wide open in favor of San Francisco.

Play of the game

This game wasn't lacking big plays. Both Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel were able to swing massive gains at various points, and DK Metcalf also had a few highlights, including a 50-yard touchdown reception. However, this was a tremendous performance by Brock Purdy, who looked like a chiseled veteran rather than a rookie making his first career playoff start. His improvisation was on full display on the drive following Smith's fumble in the third quarter. 

After getting the ball to the Seattle seven-yard line, Purdy took a second-and-goal snap and initially wanted to throw it to Brandon Aiyuk, who was breaking towards the left side of the end zone. However, with pressure in his face from that side, Purdy spun out and then slung a dart to Elijah Mitchell on the run for the easy score.

What's next

From here, the 49ers will see how the rest of Super Wild Card Weekend unfolds. The only team they are not eligible to play are the Giants, who are visiting the Vikings on Sunday afternoon. If Minnesota wins, it would travel to Santa Clara and face San Francisco in the divisional round. If New York pulls off the upset, the Niners would host the winner of Buccaneers-Cowboys on Monday night.

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January 15, 2023, 1:24 AM
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January 15, 2023, 12:59 AM

The rout may be on after the 49ers get their second turnovers in as many Seattle possessions. 

January 15, 2023, 12:07 AM

Deebo Samuel may have just ended the Seahawks' season after taking down Purdy's pass and out-running everyone to the end zone. It's 38-17 49ers after that 74-yard TD. 

January 15, 2023, 12:03 AM

Walker with just two yards rushing this half after getting 54 yards in the first half. Metcalf has pretty much been Seattle's offense this half. 

January 14, 2023, 11:58 PM

Seattle gets a chunk of those yards back but going to have to punt with 12 minutes left. The 49ers can salt away this game with a solid drive. 

January 14, 2023, 11:58 PM

Penalties continue to haunt Seattle this half. Holding and false start penalties on consecutive plays after nice plays by Metcalf and Walker. 

January 14, 2023, 11:55 PM

Seattle has the wideouts to move the ball quickly but they can't forget about Walker and the running game. Getting one dimensional would be a big mistake. 

January 14, 2023, 11:52 PM

That fumble recovery by Bosa changed the complexion of the game. Seattle was down six and threatening to take the lead. Now they're down 14 points and will have to be more aggressive offensively. 

January 14, 2023, 11:50 PM
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