How differently would the 2022 NFC Championship game have gone if San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was able to play the entire game? Many in the 49ers organization have spoken out on what might've been if Purdy never injured his elbow during the loss. Now, someone who was playing on the other side of the field is joining the conversation.
Javon Hargrave is now on the other side after the defensive tackle signed a four-year, $84 million contract with the 49ers in free agency, but he was with the Philadelphia Eagles for seven years, including last season, and admits things would have been a lot more difficult if Purdy stayed in the game.
"We kind of knew it was going to be different when all you can do is run the ball, when both quarterbacks go out, and you know exactly what you're trying to do," Hargrave said on San Francisco area radio station KNBR. "Of course, it made it a lot easier for us. ... Trust me, we've seen the film on Brock escaping. We knew it was going to be a challenge trying to get to him, so it would have been, definitely, a different game if he had stayed up."
Purdy, who was Mr. Irrelevant as the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, entered the season as the third string quarterback behind starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo. When both quarterbacks ahead of him suffered season-ending injuries, the rookie took over and immediately impressed, winning every game he started until the 31-7 NFC Championship game loss.
When Purdy injured his elbow in the title game, Josh Johnson entered, but then Johnson went out with a concussion. An injured Purdy had to go back in and was clearly not at full capacity, struggling to throw down field.
This offseason, Purdy underwent successful elbow surgery but his status for the start of the 2023 season is still unknown.