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  • Writer's pictureCole A. McMahon

Once again the 49ers are Best in the West

By: Cole A. McMahon

Photo credit: @49ers || Instagram

In a 45-29 victory, the 49ers swept the Cardinals and have claimed the NFC West title for the second year in a row. 

Brock Purdy finished the game 16/25 with 242 passing yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a 135.3 passer rating. According to CBS Sports, Purdy has jumped ahead of Dak Prescott as the new favorite to win MVP. Purdy’s four-touchdown performance came a few days after Cam Newton dubbed Purdy a “game manager.” Purdy leads the NFL with 29 touchdown passes and currently leads the league in multiple other statistical categories. He ranks first in passer rating, passing touchdowns per interception ratio, passing touchdowns per attempt, yards per attempt, and yards per completion, per NFL on CBS (X). 

Purdy’s best throw came in the fourth quarter on a back-shoulder pass to Deebo Samuel on the front pylon for a touchdown. Samuel ended the game with two receiving touchdowns and 48 receiving yards.

Christian McCaffrey, whose name has also been in the MVP talks, had another big game with 115 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, and two receiving touchdowns and led the team with 72 receiving yards. McCaffrey is currently tied for the lead league in rushing touchdowns (20) with Miami Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert. 

The 49ers went into the game short-handed on defense with both starting defensive tackles, Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave, out with injuries. Their absences did not go unnoticed as the defense allowed a season-high 234 rushing yards. The 49ers’ defense also had multiple missed tackles–an issue reminiscent of the 19-17 loss to the Browns. According to Matt Barrows (writer for The Athletic), the 49ers had a total of 16 missed tackles. 

However, Charvarius Ward stepped up on defense, recording two interceptions–one of which he returned for a touchdown. Ward has ten pass deflections in the past four games, including two this Sunday. The defensive line was able to pressure Kyler Murray throughout the game and sack him three times. Fred Warner and Chase Young both recorded 0.5 sacks, while Nick Bosa and Javon Kinlaw came up with one sack apiece. 

After the game, the media spoke with Dre Greenlaw regarding how he felt about clinching the division.

Greenlaw stated, “We done had about two, three of these shirts, so I’m kind of tired of this shirt. I want a Super Bowl shirt” (via @nbcsauthentic Instagram).

The 49ers will have an extra day of rest as their next game is on Christmas day in a Monday Night showdown vs. the Baltimore Ravens. The path to claiming the number one seed in the NFC also got easier for San Francisco. The Cowboys and Eagles lost, bringing their records to 10-4. Now, the 49ers can have a 2-1 record in the remaining schedule to clinch the first seed. The dream scenario for the Niners would be to beat the Ravens, then the Washington Commanders the upcoming week so they can rest their starters in the regular season finale against the Rams.

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