SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers had been on the brink, needing a spark to beat a giant deficit and keep away from a 3rd straight loss within the convention title sport.
Brandon Aiyuk delivered with an unbelievable catch that helped save San Francisco’s season.
Purdy’s 51-yard cross that deflected off a defender’s facemask into Aiyuk’s palms helped the Niners rally from 17 factors down at halftime to beat the Detroit Lions 34-31 on Sunday and attain the Tremendous Bowl.
The 49ers (14-5) scored 17 factors in an eight-minute span of the third quarter to tie the NFC championship sport after which pulled away within the fourth quarter to earn a rematch in opposition to Kansas Metropolis after dropping to the Chiefs within the Tremendous Bowl 4 years in the past.
“Nobody was rah-rah,” Purdy mentioned. “Nobody was freaking out. It’s soccer. There’s a number of skilled guys on this staff, veteran guys who’ve been in loopy conditions. We had been similar to, ‘We have now to do our job.’”
San Francisco mounted the fourth comeback ever from 17 factors down or extra in a convention title sport because of some big plays by Purdy and dangerous errors from the Lions (14-6), together with two failed fourth downs in field-goal vary. Detroit fell in need of reaching the primary Tremendous Bowl in franchise historical past.
“We’re not going out like this,” coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned of the mindset at halftime. “Guys didn’t need immediately to be the final day. We put ourselves in a gap. They performed prefer it within the second half and we had been in a position to get the ball to bounce the proper means and we made up for what we did within the first half.”
After being questioned about whether or not he may lead a comeback, Purdy has now achieved it twice in as many weeks. He engineered a game-winning drive within the fourth quarter to beat Inexperienced Bay final week after which had an excellent greater comeback in opposition to the Lions.
He completed with 267 yards passing and a landing, together with 48 yards speeding because of a pair of 21-yard scrambles. Now the final choose of the 2022 draft will probably be beginning within the Tremendous Bowl in opposition to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
“All he’s achieved since he’s been right here is play at an elite degree,” operating again Christian McCaffrey mentioned. “The whole lot begins with him. We’re fortunate he’s our quarterback. He takes a number of warmth for completely no motive.”
McCaffrey had two TD runs and little-used backup Elijah Mitchell scored on a 3-yard run to make it 34-24 with 3:02 to play because the Niners bought over the convention title sport hump after dropping the previous two seasons.
“There’s been unfinished enterprise for some time, man. Our staff was set out for this for a very long time,” Shanahan mentioned. “It’s been a protracted 12 months to get thus far, and we bought it achieved immediately. It was exhausting in the beginning, however the character we’ve in our staff, the kind of guys we’ve, we will’t wait to get to Vegas, man.”
The Niners blew a 10-point lead within the fourth quarter of the NFC championship sport in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams two years in the past after which had been compelled to play a lot of final 12 months’s title sport loss at Philadelphia and not using a functioning quarterback after Purdy injured his elbow on the opening drive and fourth-stringer Josh Johnson left with a concussion early within the third quarter.
However San Francisco managed to make the lengthy journey again to this stage and now’s in place to ship the franchise its record-tying sixth Tremendous Bowl title and first because the 1994 season.
A magical season for the Lions resulted in heartbreak. Detroit stays the one staff to play each season of the Tremendous Bowl period with out reaching the final word sport. This regarded prefer it could possibly be the 12 months to finish that drought when Detroit gained back-to-back playoff video games after successful only one within the earlier 56 seasons.
However the Lions couldn’t end the job regardless of holding a 24-7 halftime lead.
“Whenever you lose that means, it’s exhausting,” coach Dan Campbell mentioned. “You are feeling such as you get your coronary heart ripped out. However I’m happy with that group and I’ll go wherever with that group.”
San Francisco settled for a subject purpose on the opening drive of the second half earlier than the sport fully flipped in a four-minute span.
Campbell opted to go for it on fourth-and-2 from the San Francisco 28, however Josh Reynolds couldn’t maintain onto a cross from Jared Goff, resulting in a turnover on downs.
The Lions then appeared to have a possible interception when Purdy’s deep cross bit Kindle Vildor within the face masks, however the ball popped up and was caught for a spectacular 51-yard achieve by Aiyuk.
“After I noticed him catch that, I used to be like that’s insane,” Purdy mentioned.
Purdy discovered Aiyuk three performs later for a 6-yard rating.
“Earlier than the sport, a ladybug landed on my shoe. And also you all know what meaning,” Aiyuk mentioned. “That’s all I can say. Aside from that, I don’t know.”
Jahmyr Gibbs then fumbled on the subsequent play from scrimmage, organising a 1-yard run by McCaffrey to tie the sport at 24.
It solely bought worse from there for the Lions with Reynolds dropping one other cross on third down, resulting in a punt that Detroit had an opportunity to down on the 1 however botched.
Purdy then drove the Niners to a 33-yard subject purpose by Jake Moody and their first lead of the sport.
“Momentum definitely modified fairly rapidly,” Goff mentioned. “They scored, we didn’t convert the fourth down, they scored once more, we turned the ball over. That little sequence proper there makes it powerful.”
Campbell bypassed an opportunity at a game-tying subject purpose on fourth-and-3 from the Niners 30 halfway by the fourth quarter. Goff threw an incomplete cross and the Niners drove to the insurance coverage landing.
Goff added a TD cross to Jameson Williams with 56 seconds to play, however the 49ers recovered the onside kick to seal the win. Goff completed 25 for 41 for 273 yards and a landing.
San Francisco’s heralded entrance seven had no reply within the first half for Detroit’s offensive line, which repeatedly opened up huge holes, giving the backs a number of yards even earlier than first contact.
The Lions ran for 148 yards within the first half, getting TD runs from Williams, David Montgomery and Gibbs.
Michael Badgley added a late subject purpose to provide Detroit a 24-7 lead on the half, tied for the second-biggest scoring output for a highway staff within the first half of a convention title sport because the NFL-AFL merger.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL