Seahawks sputter in the second half as 49ers and Brock Purdy rediscover their groove.

Seahawks sputter in the second half as 49ers and Brock Purdy rediscover their groove.

California’s SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 on Saturday at Levi’s Stadium after a close first half. To start the second half, they scored 25 straight points. The 49ers won their 11th straight game to advance to the divisional stage, where they will play an unnamed opponent.

49ers of San Francisco

The 49ers’ Brock Purdy looked to be nervous for the first time in his brief career as the lowest-drafted rookie quarterback to start a playoff game.

Purdy struggled early in the wild-card game against Seattle against late reads and errant passes on plays he had been used to over the previous month. But once again, in the face of difficulty, Purdy didn’t quiver.

The Niners advanced to the NFC divisional round the next week thanks to Purdy settling in and their playmakers earning plenty of yards after the catch. At Levi’s Stadium, they’ll play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, or Minnesota Vikings.

Purdy’s early discomfort faded during a brief intermission in the locker room at halftime. His performance in the last two quarters was almost flawless, finishing 9 of 11 for 185 yards, two throwing touchdowns, and a running touchdown.

Purdy completed 18 of 30 passes for 332 yards and a total of four touchdowns. In the process, he tied Justin Herbert for the longest sequence of multiple touchdown throws in a game by a rookie quarterback since 1950 and became the third rookie quarterback to throw for three scores in a playoff game.

The greatest unknown for these Niners heading into the playoffs was how Purdy would respond under the most intense pressure. Purdy excelled in every test he has faced thus far, as he always does.

crucial play: With 2 minutes, 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter, the Seahawks trailed San Francisco by just six points and held possession of the ball at the 49ers’ 19-yard line.

Geno Smith, the quarterback for the Seahawks, dropped back to throw, but Charles Omenihu, a defensive lineman for the Niners, immediately applied pressure to him from the right side. Omenihu snatched the ball as Smith took a stride.

The first takeaway of the game was made by a quick-thinking Nick Bosa, and the Niners quickly marched for a score to effectively end the contest.

The 49ers did not commit any giveaways, and the takeaway helped San Francisco get points. The Niners are now 14-0 this season when they have only one or no turnovers.

Eye-popping NextGen statistic Niners running back Christian McCaffrey did not get a touch on a game’s opening drive for the first time this season. On the second drive, though, he made his first try count by sprinting 68 yards off the left side for the third-longest run of his career.

McCaffrey’s peak speed when moving with the ball was 20.8 mph, which was his highest speed since Week 8 of 2019.

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