The San Francisco 49ers went down to their fourth quarterback of the season in the first quarter of the NFC championship game on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Then they were back to their third due to yet another injury.
Brock Purdy was hit on the right arm and lost a fumble to the Eagles on the 49ers' first possession, but the worst news was yet to come. Purdy was looked at by the 49ers' athletic trainers on the sideline, then tried to come back in the game but came back out before the series began. Purdy was replaced by veteran Josh Johnson.
Fox's Erin Andrews reported it was an elbow injury.
This is so brutal for #49ers QB Brock Purdy. Right arm hit during the throwing motion, putting stress on the structures in the medial elbow. Most worrisome, the UCL. He’s in the locker room now, hoping for the best. Will keep you updated. pic.twitter.com/O4imGfWK7g
— DocFlynn (@DocFlynnNFL) January 29, 2023
Then it got even worse for the 49ers. The back of Johnson's head hit the turf on a hit from Ndamukong Suh early in the third quarter and he was taken off the field and later diagnosed with a concussion. Running back Christian McCaffrey was next in line to play quarterback, but Purdy came back on the field for a third-down play. Purdy handed off and the 49ers punted.
McCaffrey was shown on the sideline looking at an offensive play sheet, but Purdy came out for the next series.
There was an APB for someone to play quarterback for the 49ers.
Warming up in the parking lot, let me know https://t.co/m13UmYaicA
— Steve Young (@SteveYoungQB) January 29, 2023
Purdy attempted only two passes upon his return and San Francisco's offense got shut out in the second half in the 31-7 defeat.
Johnson appeared in two games this season for the 49ers, completing one of two passes for 10 yards. Johnson, a well-traveled veteran, has appeared in regular-season games for seven different NFL teams.
In the first three drives after Purdy's injury, Johnson went 3-of-6 for 27 yards. One of those drives ended on a 23-yard Christian McCaffrey touchdown run that tied the game 7-7 midway through the second quarter.
Johnson made a huge mistake with 1:19 left in the half when he lost a fumble on a shotgun snap that Haason Reddick recovered. Philadelphia cashed in with a 10-yard Boston Scott run to go up 21-7, a lead that held at halftime.
Purdy has been a remarkable story, a rookie seventh-round draft pick taking over the starting job due to injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo and helping the 49ers to their second straight NFC championship game.