Nightmare on Christmas: 5 INTs doom Purdy & 49ers in 33-19 loss to Ravens

Dec 25, 2023, 10:07 PM | Updated: 10:29 pm

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on prior to a game against the Baltimore Ravens at...

Loren Elliott/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers went into Christmas night with all the hopes of extending their winning streak. Instead, the Baltimore Ravens served them a piece of humble pie for the holidays.

The 49ers suffered their first loss in a month and a half Monday night, losing, 33-19, to the Ravens at home. A contest earmarked as one of the best of the year, turned into a rout for the visitors, scoring 20 unanswered points to take control on the road. By the end, Brock Purdy had been benched late in the fourth quarter.

Here’s what happened on Christmas.

The 49ers-Ravens clash started out back and forth, with both defenses making stands. San Francisco’s made the first move, forcing Baltimore into a three and out. After cornerback Ambry Thomas forced a pass break-up, Baltimore followed it up with a incompletion on third down. That gave San Francisco the ball back.

On the other hand, the 49ers offense and Purdy got going initially, working a five-play, 74-yard drive. That was set up by a 56 yard catch and run from tight end George Kittle, putting SF in the redzone. Things fell apart from there, with Purdy trying to thread the needle to wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Ravens safety Kyle Hamilton read the play well and snagged the ball, halting the 49ers’ offense in the end.

The 49ers’ defense wasn’t breaking there however, forcing QB Lamar Jackson to take a safety.

On the four-play drive, Jackson found himself backed up inside the 20-yard-line. The fourth play pushed him all the way back thanks to linebacker Fred Warner beating the protection and getting a free run at the QB. Jackson panicked and raced away from the defenders, eventually falling over the back judge and flinging the ball into the dirt.

The play was ruled intentional grounding and a safety to the 49ers, 2-0.

San Francisco got the ball back as a result, going on a 10-play drive next. But, it was eventually stopped after they crossed the 40-yard-line of Baltimore. A defensive holding pushed the 49ers into field-goal range, allowing kicker Jake Moody to convert a 45-yard try.

5-0 to the 49ers, midway through the first quarter.

Then the Ravens offense woke up, marching down on an eight play-drive. But while they only earned 28 yards, it was a net gain of 65 yards that made the difference. And that’s thanks to two huge penalties by S Tashaun Gipson,  pushing Baltimore into the redzone. The Red & Gold help strong though, forcing the ravens into a FG try from short distance.

K Justin Tucker made it to make the score, 5-3, after the first quarter.

Then disaster struck for the 49ers.

After two big pickups to Kittle and Samuel, Purdy threw his second INT of the night next. Trying to force the ball to the latter on an RPO, CB Brandon Stephens jumped up and batted the ball towards fellow CB Marlon Humphrey for the pick.

A disastrous scenario on the heels of a good drive by Purdy.

By that point the Ravens had worn down the 49ers defense. Going on an 11-play drive, the visitors picked up nine yards to TE Isaiah Likely to get it down to the one-yard line. Faced with fourth down, they punched it in with running back Gus Edwards.

10-5 to the Ravens.

Then, horror struck once more for Purdy & Co.

After two plays, the gunslinger turned it over again. Scrambling around the pocket to make a play, Purdy threw a heater to Kittle over the middle. The ball came off the pass catcher and a Ravens defender, landing in the hands of Hamilton once more.

A third INT midway through the second quarter. This was the first time Purdy had thrown three picks in a game, and the first time for a 49er since Nick Mullens was under center.

Baltimore’s offense couldn’t make much of it however, going three and out before ending Tucker on for another FG. 13-5 to the Ravens with seven minutes left in the half.

Purdy and the 49ers rebounded momentarily next, going on a six-play drive to the endzone. The drive was sprung thanks to RB Christian McCaffrey, breaking loose for a 39 yard carry down the left sideline. Now in first and goal, CMC finished off his handy work, bouncing in for a nine-yard score.

13-12 Ravens, with three minutes remaining in the half.

Unfortunately, that was enough time for the Ravens to add points, picking up first downs one play at a time. The 49ers almost halted them at midfield, but Jackson proved too elusive, scrambling away for a 30-yard gain near the goal-line. That gave Baltimore enough time to kick the FG, giving them a 16-12 lead at the half.

The 49ers started with the ball in the second half, with a chance to take the led in the contest. The furthest possible thing happened, going three and out to start the third quarter. To make matters worse, punter Mitch Wishnowsky was flagged for a late hit on the punt, giving the Ravens 15 more yards.

Three plays later, Baltimore found the endzone again, this time with WR Nelson Agolohor from six yards out.

23-12 Ravens in 70 seconds.

The nightmare wasn’t over for Purdy however, throwing his fourth and final pick on the next play. Surveying the field, the QB was hit as he threw, with the ball landed in linebacker Patrick Queen’s hands. A fourth INT for Purdy, the most of any 49ers QB in a single game since Colin Kaepernick in 2015.

A play later, Jackson connected with WR Zay Flowers for another TD, making the score, 30-12, early in the half.

San Francisco was pretty much done from there, embarrassed at home on national TV on Christmas. The 49ers ensuring drives resulted in a punt, turnover on downs, a touchdown and an interception. By that time, Purdy had been pulled from the game due to a stinger injury, with backup QB Sam Darnold finishing out the fourth quarter on the field.

The game ended 33-19, with the outlook of the contest feeling more one-sided than that.

The 49ers will now go back to the drawing board on a short week, especially Brock Purdy. The MVP front-runner saw his chances at the award dashed in a single game, with his coach critical the primary turnover that started it all.

As for the confidence in his young gunslinger: Unwavering, expecting him to bounce back moving forward.

“Getting that stinger there, I wanted to keep him out of there. Ready for him to bounce back next week,” Kyle Shanahan said postgame.

San Francisco falls to 11-4 one the season, now tied with the Detroit Lions for possession of the NFC’s 1-seed. The 49ers still control their own destiny, but will need to win both other remaining games to secure the first-round bye.

As for the vibes of the locker room, disappointed, of course. But, they’v been down before, looking to attack Week 17 the only way they know how.

“I remember losing three in a row earlier this year and our guys came back strong. It’s the same mentality every week,” McCaffrey said.

“That’s football. Sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way. What are you going to do? Are you going to dwell on it or move on and go try and kick someone else’s ass?” George Kittle stated after the game.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, Dec. 31st @ Washington Commanders – 10:00 a.m. PST
  • Sunday, Jan. 7th vs. Los Angeles Rams – TBD
  • NFL Playoffs (TBD)

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