Dec 24, 2022; Santa Clara, California, USA;  San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans reacts during the third quarter against the Washington Commanders at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Texans hire 49ers DC DeMeco Ryans as head coach

The Houston Texans hired DeMeco Ryans as their head coach Tuesday afternoon, multiple reports said.

The hire was widely expected after the NFL Network and KPRC2 in Houston reported Monday that the Texans planned to finalize a deal with Ryans after a second interview. With Ryans’ San Francisco 49ers losing in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, he was freed up to complete a second interview with Houston, per NFL rules.

The Texans’ official Twitter account posted earlier Tuesday that the team had “completed additional discussions with DeMeco Ryans regarding our head coaching position.”

Ryans, 38, spent the past two seasons as the 49ers’ defensive coordinator. He was their inside linebackers coach for three seasons before that.

A former linebacker, Ryans spent the first six seasons of his playing career with the Texans, who selected him with the first pick of the second round in the 2006 draft. He was Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006 and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007 and 2009.

Ryans also spent 2012-15 with the Philadelphia Eagles.

In 140 career games (139 starts), Ryans amassed 970 tackles, 13.5 sacks, seven interceptions, seven forced fumbles and 10 fumble recoveries.

His work with the 49ers’ defense drew plaudits. He assumed the coordinator position after Robert Saleh left the team to take the New York Jets’ head job. The Niners allowed the fewest points (16.3) and yards per game (300.6) in the NFL in 2022 and generated 30 takeaways.

Ryans replaces Lovie Smith, who was the second straight Texans coach to be let go after one season. The Texans went 3-13-1 in 2022 and will pick second in April’s NFL draft.

The 49ers have requested to interview Steve Wilks for their defensive coordinator vacancy. Wilks is under contract with the Carolina Panthers, where he was the defensive coordinator and interim head coach in 2022. Carolina interviewed Wilks for the full-time head coach gig before hiring Frank Reich.

–Field Level Media

Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during the first quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: 49ers QB Brock Purdy tore UCL, out 6 months

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a complete UCL tear in his throwing elbow during Sunday’s NFC Championship Game and will require surgery, NFL Network and ESPN reported Monday.

Purdy is expected to miss at least six months, but the 49ers hope he can be ready in time for training camp next summer if he undergoes a repair as opposed to a full reconstruction of the ligament, per the reports.

Purdy underwent an MRI on Monday to assess the full extent of the injury that occurred early in Sunday’s conference title game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Purdy’s right elbow was injured on the 49ers’ sixth play from scrimmage on a blow from Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick. He later had to re-enter the game after backup Josh Johnson sustained a concussion.

Purdy only attempted two short passes after returning. He later told reporters his arm felt “shocks all over from my elbow down to my wrist” and “just pain” when he threw, limiting him to nothing more than 5-yard tosses.

The latest injury in the 49ers’ quarterback room could complicate the team’s plans for the 2023 season. Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was pressed into action in November after long-term injuries to both Trey Lance (ankle) and Jimmy Garoppolo (foot).

Garoppolo is set to become a free agent in the new league year, but Lance was selected third overall in the 2021 draft as San Francisco’s long-term answer at quarterback. He began the 2022 season as the starter before going down with ankle ligament damage and a fractured fibula early in Week 2.

The Niners did not lose a game that Purdy either finished or started going back to Week 13. They entered Sunday on a 12-game winning streak, including seven starts by Purdy after he replaced Garoppolo early on in a Dec. 4 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Purdy threw for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in the regular season and went for 332 yards and three TDs in a wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks. He added 214 yards passing when the Niners edged the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round.

After Purdy’s exit Sunday, the Eagles feasted on the journeyman Johnson and won going away 31-7 to advance to Super Bowl LVII to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 12 at Glendale, Ariz.

–Field Level Media

Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) hands off to running back Christian McCaffrey (23) against the Philadelphia Eagles during the fourth quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy to undergo MRI on elbow, ‘sad’ for 49ers veterans

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy will undergo an MRI on his injured throwing elbow Monday after the team’s season ended with Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

Purdy’s right elbow was injured in the first quarter on a blow from Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick. He later had to re-enter the game after backup Josh Johnson sustained a concussion.

Purdy only attempted two short passes after returning. He later told reporters his arm felt “shocks all over from my elbow down to my wrist” and “just pain” when he threw, limiting him to nothing more than 5-yard throws.

“I’m just so sad for the older guys, Fred (Warner), Trent (Williams), George (Kittle), Arik Armstead, everyone,” the rookie quarterback said postgame. “All the guys that have been through this.

“They’ve obviously been in the Super Bowl in ‘19 and then last year in the NFC Championship and then for this to happen, in the first drive, really, of ‘Man, like this is the kind of game we have to play after the first drive,’ I’m just frustrated. But more sad for those guys than anything, because they deserve to go, to win, to win the whole thing.”

Johnson — the 49ers’ fourth quarterback this season following injuries to Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo and Purdy — was 7-of-13 passing before his head hit the turf from a hit by Ndamukong Suh of the Eagles.

“Guys were up for the challenge,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of Johnson entering the game. “I thought our defense was playing real well. We felt Josh was going to go in there and execute our plan and give us a chance.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles running back Miles Sanders (26) scores a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl-bound Eagles crush QB-challenged 49ers

Miles Sanders rushed for two touchdowns, Haason Reddick delivered a huge performance and the Philadelphia Eagles are headed to the Super Bowl after posting a 31-7 victory over the visiting San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Jalen Hurts passed for 121 yards and rushed for a touchdown as the top-seeded Eagles advanced to their first Super Bowl in five years and fourth overall. Boston Scott tacked on a rushing score while Reddick had two sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Second-seeded San Francisco was left without firepower after rookie quarterback Brock Purdy injured his right elbow in the first quarter after a blow from Reddick. He later re-entered the game in the third quarter after backup Josh Johnson sustained a concussion.

Purdy was 4-of-4 passing for 23 yards but threw just two short passes after returning despite the 49ers facing a large deficit. Johnson completed 7 of 13 passes for 74 yards and Christian McCaffrey rushed for 84 yards and one score.

Philadelphia outgained San Francisco 269 to 164. The Eagles will face either the Cincinnati Bengals or the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz.

The Eagles drove 66 yards on 11 plays on their first drive with Sanders ending it with a 6-yard scoring run.

On the sixth play after San Francisco took over, Reddick slammed into Purdy’s right arm. The ball slipped out of Purdy’s hand and was knocked up field by his wrist before being recovered by Philadelphia’s Linval Joseph at the Eagles’ 44-yard line.

Johnson took over on San Francisco’s next possession when Purdy determined he couldn’t throw the ball.

The 49ers tied the game in the second quarter when McCaffrey powered his way to a 23-yard touchdown run.

The Eagles regained the lead when Sanders rumbled through a big hole on a 13-yard run with 1:36 left.

On San Francisco’s next possession, Johnson took his eyes off a shotgun snap and dropped the ball, and Reddick recovered at the 49ers’ 30. Three plays later, Scott scored on a 10-yard run to give Philadelphia a 21-7 advantage 16 seconds before halftime.

Early in the third quarter, Johnson threw an incomplete pass and hit his head on the turf after a hit from Philadelphia’s Ndamukong Suh. He exited the game. Purdy finished the drive with a handoff and then returned for San Francisco’s next offensive drive.

The 49ers went three-and-out and punted the ball back to the Eagles. Philadelphia received help from a 15-yard roughing the kicker penalty while driving 91 yards on 15 plays, with Hurts scoring on a 1-yard keeper to make it 28-7 with 43 seconds left in the period.

Jake Elliott added a 31-yard field goal with 5:17 left in the game.

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs past Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) during the third quarter of a NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey insists he’ll play vs. Eagles

Christian McCaffrey has been a talented yet brittle performer during his NFL career.

But the San Francisco 49ers running back made it clear Thursday that he will play in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game against the host Philadelphia Eagles.

McCaffrey missed his second straight day of practice due to a right calf injury but had a one-word answer when asked the chances of him missing the game against the top-seeded Eagles.

“Zero,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey is focusing on the mental part of the game and studying the possible plays. He also is taking part in walk-through portions of practice.

“It’s the same process for me, just lowering a little bit of the physical load,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey has been a solid contributor for the second-seeded 49ers since being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in mid-October.

He rushed for 746 yards and six touchdowns in 11 regular-season games for the team and also caught 52 passes for 464 yards and four scores. He has scored at least one touchdown in the past eight games, the top such streak of his six-year career.

San Francisco has won all 12 games McCaffrey has started, including playoff victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

He ripped off 119 yards on 15 carries and had a touchdown reception against the Seahawks in the NFC wild-card round but was limited to 35 rushing yards and one score on 10 carries in last Sunday’s divisional round over the Cowboys.

Adding to the anxiety over the running game is that No. 2 back Elijah Mitchell (groin) also missed his second straight practice on Thursday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan expects Mitchell to be available against the Eagles.

The San Francisco running game will surely be counted on Sunday to help take pressure off rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who has won all seven of his NFL starts.

The 49ers will want to slow a potent Eagles’ pass rush that is enjoying a historic campaign.

Counting the postseason, the Eagles have racked up 75 sacks, third-most in NFL history. The only two higher outputs came from the mid-1980s Chicago Bears, who had a record 82 in 1984 and 80 in 1985.

Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick (16 sacks), defensive ends Brandon Graham (11) and Josh Sweat (11) and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave (11) all established career highs for sacks. The defense also includes tackle Fletcher Cox (seven sacks) and safety C.J. Johnson-Gardner, who tied for the league lead with six interceptions.

“They fly to the ball well. They have a good pass rush,” McCaffrey said. “For us, it’s about executing the play call, though.

“Kyle knows all that stuff, and he knows exactly where he wants to go with the ball. It’s just up to us to be able to do it at full speed and play beyond the X’s and O’s.”

While the Eagles ranked second in total defense (301.5 yards per game) during the regular season, San Francisco was even better as it led the NFL in total defense (300.6 yards per game) and scoring defense (16.3 points per game).

Defensive end Nick Bosa (NFL-high 18.5 sacks) is a finalist for Defensive Player of the Year honors, while linebacker Fred Warner (130 tackles) topped 100 stops for the fifth straight season.

Warner is also known as one of the NFL’s better on-field talkers and that includes barbs directed toward his teammates.

“Fred is always going to talk because he’s a true leader,” Shanahan said. “Fred should be the guy who talks because of the way he carries himself every day. Everyone knows how good of a player he is but when it comes to what he does day-in, day-out since he’s been here … he’s ahead of everybody.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) runs past Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) during the third quarter of a NFC divisional round game at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers RBs Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell both ailing

The San Francisco 49ers’ top two running backs, Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, are dealing with injuries heading into Sunday’s NFC Championship Game at the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCaffrey aggravated a calf injury during last Sunday’s 19-12 divisional round playoff win over the Dallas Cowboys while Mitchell sustained a groin injury.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan termed both running backs as day-to-day on Monday during a conference call with reporters.

Shanahan also said defensive end Charles Omenihu (oblique) is day-to-day.

“We’re expecting to get them all back for Sunday,” said Shanahan, “but we’ll see how it goes through the week with practice and everything. Hopefully it’ll go well and that’ll get them ready for Sunday.”

Mitchell rushed for a game-high 51 yards on 14 carries against Dallas. McCaffrey rushed for 35 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries and caught six passes for 22 yards.

McCaffrey admitted after Sunday’s contest that playing against the Cowboys was a bit of a struggle physically.

“I was fighting but made it through, made it through great,” McCaffrey said.

McCaffrey rushed for 746 yards and six touchdowns and caught 52 passes for 464 yards and four scores in 11 regular-season games for the 49ers after being acquired from the Carolina Panthers in mid-October. He was superb in the NFC wild-card round when he gained 119 yards on 15 carries and added a TD catch in a 41-23 rout of the Seattle Seahawks.

Mitchell was limited to five regular-season games due to two knee injuries — one to each knee — and had 279 yards and two touchdowns. He had just 2 yards on nine carries versus Seattle but had a touchdown grab among his two catches for 25 yards.

Omenihu had a career-high 4.5 sacks during the regular season.

–Field Level Media

Jan 22, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner (54) celebrates with teammates after an interception during the second quarter of a NFC divisional round game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Defense powers 49ers over Cowboys, into NFC title game

Christian McCaffrey rushed for the tiebreaking touchdown and the San Francisco 49ers went on to a 19-12 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday in Santa Clara, Calif., to advance to the NFC Championship Game.

Robbie Gould kicked four field goals and rookie Brock Purdy completed 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards as the second-seeded 49ers won their 12th consecutive game. George Kittle caught five passes for 95 yards for San Francisco, which eliminated Dallas from the postseason for the second straight year.

Dak Prescott was 23-of-37 passing for 206 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Cowboys. Prescott tied for the regular-season high of 15 interceptions before tacking on more miscues against the 49ers.

San Francisco will visit the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in next Sunday’s NFC title game. It is the 49ers’ third appearance in the past four seasons.

Deommodore Lenoir and Fred Warner had the interceptions for San Francisco.

CeeDee Lamb had 10 receptions for 117 yards for the fifth-seeded Cowboys.

Dallas lost running back Tony Pollard to a left ankle injury late in the second quarter. He was carted off the field.

McCaffrey’s 2-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter capped a 10-play, 91-yard drive and gave the 49ers a 16-9 lead.

Brett Maher booted a 43-yard field goal to move the Cowboys within four with 11:03 to play.

Gould kicked a 28-yard field goal with 3:04 remaining to restore the seven-point advantage.

Dallas was unable to threaten on its final drive before time ran out on its season.

Gould kicked three first-half goals to give San Francisco a 9-6 halftime lead.

Lenoir’s interception of Prescott set up Gould’s 26-yard field goal with 2:12 left in the opening quarter.

Dallas took a 6-3 lead on Prescott’s 4-yard pass to Dalton Schultz with 9:25 remaining in the second quarter. San Francisco’s Samson Ebukam used his left hand to block Maher’s extra point, his fifth such miss this postseason, one shy of the career playoff record held by Roy Gerela (1969-79).

Gould booted a 47-yard field goal to tie the score with 3:43 left. Warner intercepted Prescott at the 49ers’ 12 with 1:15 left and San Francisco took advantage with Gould’s 50-yard kick as time expired in the half.

Ray-Ray McCloud fumbled on a punt return early in the third quarter and Dallas’ Damone Clark recovered at the San Francisco 21. The Cowboys cashed in when Maher sent a 25-yard field goal through the middle of the uprights to tie it at 9 with 9:08 remaining in the third quarter.

–Field Level Media

Jan 16, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Dallas Cowboys place kicker Brett Maher (19) misses a point after touchdown kick in the first half during the wild card game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Mike McCarthy: Cowboys K Brett Maher ‘he needs to practice well’

Tristan Vizcaino was on the field with the Dallas Cowboys at Thursday’s practice, but coach Mike McCarthy said that the kicking insurance policy doesn’t mean the team does not believe in Brett Maher.

Maher missed four straight extra-point attempts in Monday’s 31-14 wild-card win over the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He converted his fifth and final try of the game.

Dallas added Vizcaino to the practice squad on Tuesday. Vizcaino had previous stints with the 49ers, Chargers, Cardinals and Patriots and was briefly on the Cowboys’ offseason roster in 2020.

“It doesn’t take anything away from our trust in Brett,” McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “I just think it’s part of the responsibility. Player acquisition’s a 365-day (thing), this is nothing out of the normal for us.”

It’s unclear if the Cowboys would consider carrying two kickers on the active roster for Sunday’s divisional round game at the San Francisco 49ers.

“He (Maher) needs to practice well this week,” McCarthy said, adding, “We all need to practice well this week. I better coach well this week.”

Maher might have received the message. According to reporters in clear view of the kicking display at the Cowboys’ practice in Frisco, Texas, Maher went 6-for-6 on field goals and Vizcaino went 3-for-5, including missing his very first kick.

“Whoever lines up here on the 48, I’ll have great confidence,” McCarthy said.

The Cowboys will head west hoping to be the first team to hand San Francisco a loss since Oct. 23. The Niners have won 11 straight games, including seven behind rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, who’s impressed the league after taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo.

McCarthy said there’s no point in crunching tape of Purdy’s days at Iowa State.

“He’s got plenty of film now and he’s played at a very high level. … He’s not a rookie anymore in our eyes,” McCarthy said.

“The three things that jumped out to me … is his instincts, his awareness and his confidence. For a young player he definitely looks very confident and comfortable in the system.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 15, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) scrambles away from Seattle Seahawks linebacker Uchenna Nwosu (10) during the fourth quarter at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Wild Card Weekend: Seahawks-49ers Preview, Props, Prediction

The Seattle Seahawks travel to San Francisco to take on the 49ers on Saturday in the first of three division-rival games on Wild Card Weekend.

The Seahawks reached the playoffs for the 10th time in coach Pete Carroll’s 13 seasons despite losing five of their final six games to close out the calendar year 2022. Seattle rebounded with wins over the Jets and Rams to finish the regular season, squeaking into the playoffs courtesy of Green Bay’s loss on Sunday night.

The 49ers have won 10 consecutive games and dominated the regular-season meetings, winning 27-7 in Week 2 in Santa Clara and 21-13 on a Thursday night in Seattle in mid-December.

San Francisco is a consensus 9.5-point home favorite at home, where the forecast is calling for temperatures in the high-50s and the potential for significant rain during the game.

The line has held steady at 9.5 all week at BetMGM, where the 49ers have been backed by 78 percent of the spread-line bets and 88 percent of the money — the most among wild-card games at the sportsbook this week. Meanwhile, San Francisco’s -200 moneyline had shifted to -500 by Friday, with San Francisco drawing 76 percent of the money.

The action has been similarly lopsided at DraftKings. The 49ers have garnered 67 percent of the spread-line bets and 74 percent of the money, while their -460 moneyline has been backed by 85 percent of both the bets and money.

Meanwhile, San Francisco’s spread line has drawn 92 percent of the money at BetRivers while its -500 moneyline has been backed by 95 percent.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said his team is peaking at the right time but cautioned against looking too far ahead.

“I think you need to be doing that, especially to have a chance to get through these games, but nothing really matters how you’re doing going into it,” Shanahan said of peaking heading into the playoffs. “It’s how you do that first game. And if there is a first game and you play like you’re capable, then you get the privilege for a second game.

“But this season can end fast and that’s why these playoffs are such a big deal and that’s why they’re so fun to watch for everybody because it’s just one game.”

Seahawks RB Kenneth Walker Under 60.5 Rushing Yards (-110 at DraftKings): The potential payout here is slightly better than the -115 odds at BetMGM. Walker recovered from an ankle injury to close the regular season with three consecutive 100-yard rushing games. However, he was limited to 47 yards on 3.92 yards per carry in the second meeting with the 49ers, who led the league in allowing only 76.9 rushing yards per game. Seattle wants to be a run-first offense, but Walker also has a tendency to dance behind the line waiting for the home-run hole to open up, which won’t work against San Francisco’s ferocious front seven.

49ers RB Christian McCaffrey Over 73.5 Rushing Yards (-115 at BetMGM): This has been the most-bet player prop at the sportsbook among all games this weekend, and there is a slew of data to back it up. The Seahawks ranked 30th in stopping the run, allowing an average of 150.2 yards per game during the regular season. That included McCaffrey rumbling for 108 yards on 26 carries in Seattle last month. It’s going to be cold, it’s going to be wet and the 49ers are starting a rookie quarterback — all signs point toward hammering a poor run defense minus its best linebacker (Jordyn Brooks).

Under 42.0 Total Points (-110 at BetRivers, BetMGM, DraftKings): This Under has drawn 60 percent of the bets at BetMGM, the highest percentage among all games this weekend. While the Over has drawn slightly more total bets at the other two sportsbooks, the Under has also been backed by 58 percent of the money at BetRivers. It’s a good play for many of the same reasons as McCaffrey’s rushing total. And the teams combined to average 34 points during their two regular-season meetings.

Seahawks: OG Phil Haynes (ankle), RB DeeJay Dallas (ankle, quadriceps), TE Noah Fant (knee) and DE Shelby Harris (knee) are listed as questionable, although each is expected to have a good chance to play.

49ers: QB Jimmy Garoppolo (foot) and CB Ambry Thomas (ankle) are out.

For all the plaudits rightfully being directed towards Geno Smith, he was more error-prone down the stretch, throwing seven of his 11 interceptions in the final seven games. And the 49ers held him to a single touchdown pass in two meetings. San Francisco’s smothering defense will help the 49ers build and early lead and steadily grind the Seahawks down with a heavy dose of McCaffrey and high-percentage passes from Purdy to the likes of George Kittle, who has seven TDs in his past four games.

–49ers 30, Seahawks 17

–Field Level Media

Jan 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey (23) carries the ball against Arizona Cardinals safety Jalen Thompson (34) during the first quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

49ers roll past Cardinals to win 10th straight

The San Francisco 49ers ended the regular season on a 10-game winning streak, dominating the second half against the Arizona Cardinals to earn a 38-13 victory, while earning the No. 2 seed in the NFC playoffs.

The Cardinals finished with seven consecutive defeats, and nine losses in their last 10 games, to finish 4-13 after an 11-6 record in 2021 that resulted in a spot in the playoffs.

The 49ers (13-4) delivered a similar dominating second half against the Cardinals to earn a 38-10 victory in Week 11 as they outscored Arizona 21-0 in the second half. On Sunday, they had a 17-0 advantage in the second half.

The Cardinals struck first with a trick play on the second play of the game on a pitch back to quarterback David Blough, who connected with wide receiver A.J. Green for a 77-yard touchdown. Kicker Matt Prater missed the extra point.

The 49ers then moved 75 yards in six plays and took a 7-6 lead in the opening quarter on a 21-yard scoring pass from quarterback Brock Purdy to Christian McCaffrey.

After 49ers safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. intercepted a Blough pass and returned the ball to the Cardinals’ 18-yard line, running back Elijah Mitchell scored three plays later on a 5-yard run with 12:07 remaining in the second quarter for a 14-6 lead. Mitchell was activated from injured reserve Saturday.

Arizona followed with a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive that ended in a 1-yard TD run by Corey Clement. to cut the lead to 14-13. The 49ers answered with a 66-yard drive as George Kittle scored on a 4-yard pass from Purdy for a 21-13 halftime lead.

Mitchell scored his second touchdown on a 6-yard run on the first possession of the second half and the rout was on. Kittle scored the 49ers’ final touchdown on a 1-yard pass in the third quarter.

Purdy completed 15 of 20 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns.

San Francisco scored 17 points after two interceptions and a fumble recovery. On those turnovers, the 49ers got the ball at the Cardinals 18-, 34- and 28-yard line.

Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt played the final game of his career and went out with a bang, registering two sacks to give him 12.5 for the season. He had five tackles (three for a loss), with two quarterback hits and a pass defended.

–Field Level Media