SANTA CLARA — While 49er quarterback Brock Purdy’s first career start went about as well as could be expected on the field, he did suffer an oblique strain early in the game.
Now the big question is whether he will be able to recover from the injury that occurred on a scramble on the second drive of the game before Thursday’s contest against the Seattle Seahawks.
Purdy remained in the game and finished with two touchdown passes and a TD run that led the Niners to a 35-7 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. He now has only three days to recover before playing at Seattle.
“I think it was a challenge for him, just talking to him and seeing him after the game,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “I think he really toughed it out, did some real good things with it and I know he is sore today, so hopefully the MRI will be good and give him a chance to play Thursday.”
Meanwhile, the team announced that receiver Deebo Samuel has a sprained left ankle and MCL in his left knee, but is only expected to miss a couple of weeks.
The star receiver went down hard with the injury during the game, leaving the tears in tears on a cart. Recovery time from that type of sprain typically ranges from 4-6 weeks.
But the final diagnosis was much more optimistic as the Niners (9-4) are now expected to have their dynamic playmaker back for the end of the season and playoffs.
Samuel had scored on a 13-yard TD run on San Francisco’s first possession Sunday. He had four carries for 21 yards and four catches for 43 yards.
Samuel has 54 catches for 612 yards and two TDs, along 228 yards rushing and three TD runs this season.
San Francisco can clinch the division with a win this week as the team has survived a run of injuries that have sidelined key players throughout the season.
Purdy impressed his coaches and teammates in his first start after Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a broken foot. He showed poise and playmaking ability on Sunday as he was able to extend plays and make big gains downfield against Tampa Bay’s aggressive defense, and shake off his few mistakes.
“He is the same dude every day and he’s the same guy on the field, whether he is making a good play or bad play,” Shanahan said. “He’s believes in himself and he’s going to keep slinging it and ripping what he sees. And I think our guys feel that and when you’re like that, it gives a lot of people confidence because you know it’s a matter of time.”
“I think it shows the type of versatility and the type of depth that we have,” fullback Kyle Juszczyk said. “When guys go down, there’s always somebody else that can step in and fill those shoes. Unfortunately, we have to keep doing that. But it’s good that we can.”
Running game. After a couple of sluggish weeks running the ball, the Niners did a much better job on the ground against Tampa Bay. Christian McCaffrey had 14 carries for 119 yards and rookie Jordan Mason added 11 carries for 56 yards. In all, the Niners ran for a season-high 209 yards on 36 carries.
WHAT NEEDS WORK
Keeping the defensive line healthy. The Niners lost two more D-linemen to injuries in the game with Kevin Givens going down with a knee injury that could sideline him a few weeks and Kerry Hyder sustaining an ankle injury that Shanahan hopes isn’t too serious. San Francisco lost Hassan Ridgeway last week.
LB Dre Greenlaw. Fred Warner gets most of the attention at linebacker for San Francisco, but his running mate has been playing just as well of late. Greenlaw had 15 tackles and an INT — the first Niners player to do that in a game since at least 1991. He has 103 tackles and three takeaways on the season.
“He’s playing at such a high level,” Warner said. “He’s not getting talked about enough the type of ball that he’s playing this year. The way that people talk about me, I think they need to talk about him the same the same way. I know what high level linebacker play looks like and he’s doing it.”
Pass rush. With Brady getting rid of the ball quickly, the Niners were unable to generate a single sack on the day. That snapped their franchise record of 42 games in a row, including the playoffs, with at least one sack.
The Niners had several other injuries from the game beyond Purdy, Samuel, Givens and Hyder. CB Samuel Womack is in concussion protocol and will miss this week’s game and CB Dontae Johnson (knee) and CB Ambry Thomas (ankle) also got hurt. … Shanahan said the team could open the practice window for DT Javon Kinlaw (knee) next week.
200 and 0 — Along with running for 209 yards, San Francisco also didn’t allow a single sack. That marked just the second time in six seasons under Shanahan that the Niners ran for at least 200 yards without allowing a sack. The other came in Week 2 against Cincinnati in 2019.
San Francisco visits Seattle on Thursday night with a chance to clinch the NFC West.