Brock Purdy shines in preseason finale as 49ers fall to Chargers

Aug 25, 2023, 11:15 PM | Updated: Aug 26, 2023, 7:30 am

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers scores a touchdown on a five yard runagainst the Los Ang...

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Friday night’s preseason finale for the 49ers came with a bundle of storylines. But underneath all of them, Brock Purdy showed why he is QB1 for the franchise.

The San Francisco 49ers closed out their 2023 preseason with a loss Friday, falling to the Los Angeles Chargers, 23-12. On a night that saw many headlines take center stage, Brock Purdy went out and played.

The starting QB of the Red & Gold started out hot Friday, leading the team on a 10-play, 74-yard drive. His best throw came on a comeback route to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, snagging 25 yards on the play. Looking in command, Purdy delivered the ball with accuracy and poise.

Unfortunately, running back Jordan Mason fumbled at the goal line, giving the ball to the visitors with no points to show for their efforts.

Purdy remained in control on the next series, taking San Francisco on another long drive.

This time though, the QB had some help, with Mason breaking off a few big runs to get the team in scoring position. A few plays later, Purdy & the 49ers found themselves with a first & goal opportunity, cashing in from five yards out. The QB used pump fakes to keep the Chargers’ defense at bay, running it in for the score.

The 49ers went up 6-0 with four minutes remaining in the first quarter. That would be it for the starter’s night, ending 5 of 9, 73 yards passing and one rushing touchdown.

While the team didn’t excel much on the night, Purdy’s play gave hope for the first-team 49ers this season.

But once the starters departed for the evening, everything went downhill for the 49ers.

The visitors needed two plays on the next series, finding pay dirt with the run game. Seeing a big hole up the middle, running back Joshua Kelley sprinted ahead, untouched for a 75-yard scamper to the endzone and just like that, 7-6 Chargers.

The 49ers would be unable to lead another inspiring drive until the second half, bogged down by penalties across the board. They finished the first half with three punts.

On the flip side, the Chargers were all to convert an extra three points via field goal, making the score, 10-6, at halftime.

After Purdy, newly-appointed backup QB Sam Darnold took the helm, playing two & a half quarters Friday night. While his first few drives were unsuccessful, Darnold & the second team finally found the endzone on the fourth drive.

Leading the 49ers on a seven-play, 67-yard drive, the former third-overall pick delivered the ball accurately. His best throws went to WRs Isaiah Winstead and Willie Snead IV, with running back Ty-Davis Price helping him out in the run game. Darnold capped off the drive with a laser to the later in the endzone, allowing the wideout to toe-tap his way to six points and a 12-10 lead for the 49ers after the team’s two-point attempt failed.

Sam Darnold finished the night 6 for 11, with 89 passing yards and one TD to his name.

That would end up being San Francisco’s final scoring drive on the night, stalling out with third-stringer Brandon Allen under center. On the other end, the Chargers pulled away with three successful drives, scoring 13 more points before the night was over.

Rookie QB Max Duggan also impressed in this one, making plays with his legs Friday. He capped off his lone TD of the night by hitting tight end Hunter Kampmoyer from three yards away. Kicker Cameron Dikcer also added two more field goals for the visitors.

The final score ended 23-12, in favor of the Chargers.

The story of the night didn’t even come from the play on the field, with former 49ers QB Trey Lance traded to the Dallas Cowboys Friday. The move left the team in a somber mood Friday, with their friend & teammate now heading elsewhere.

“I always feel like I let Trey down,” coach Kyle Shanahan said about Lance after the game. “I always believed in him before we took him.”

“I love Trey. Everything he’s done for this organization and obviously for myself. I can’t say how thankful I am to have played & been a teammate with Trey,” Purdy stated about his former teammate.

While this is a tough pill to swallow for San Francisco, the team will look forward to the regular season, now firmly in the hands of starting QB Brock Purdy. Purdy & the rest of the starters will get their first crack at the regular season on Sept. 10th, heading to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.

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