San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy wants to start winning again after dropping his first two regular-season games in back-to-back weeks.
But he might not get that chance in Week 8 after head coach Kyle Shanahan revealed that the 2022 NFL Draft’s last pick was placed in concussion protocol.
Shanahan said that Purdy began experiencing concussion-like symptoms while on the plane back to San Francisco following the team’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings on “Monday Night Football.”
Purdy is now unlikely to play on Sunday, as no NFL player has been placed into concussion protocol this season and played the same week, according to ESPN. It would be the first missed game of his career since he was named a starter in Week 14 last season.
If Purdy can’t play, the Niners will likely turn to veteran backup Sam Darnold, who has backed up Purdy since he won the job out of training camp over the now-Dallas Cowboys backup Trey Lance.
The 49ers have the Cincinnati Bengals, who are coming off a bye, on the schedule this Sunday at home.
Purdy’s 2023 season has been trending down after starting 5-0 on the year to cement the 49ers once again as the team to beat in the NFC. But the Cleveland Browns were able to win a defensive battle at home against the Niners in Week 6, 19-17, where rookie kicker Jake Moody missed a 41-yard field goal for the win.
That was the first time Purdy has lost a game as a starter in the regular season, which is an amazing feat, considering that the Iowa State product was “Mr. Irrelevant” in last year’s draft.
However, Monday night’s loss was a shocker to many who believed the 49ers were going to get right back on track against a Minnesota team that has struggled early on this season. Purdy threw two interceptions in the same game for the first time ever, including on a potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter that sealed Minnesota’s victory.
The 49ers are still primed to reach the playoffs this season, as they sit at 5-2 atop the NFC West, but snapping the losing streak could be harder if Purdy isn’t on the field Sunday.
Darnold, the third overall pick by the New York Jets in the 2018 NFL Draft, is in his first year with the Niners after three seasons in New York and the last two with the Carolina Panthers. Darnold was 4-2 as a starter for Carolina last year after going 4-7 in 2021. He’s 21-34 for his career as a starter.
The 49ers’ offense is also dealing with injuries to two of its top players in left tackle Trent Wiliams and wide receiver Deebo Samuel. Both were absent from Monday’s loss, with Williams nursing an ankle injury, and Samuel having a fractured shoulder.
Samuel is already ruled out for Sunday, and Williams didn’t practice on Wednesday, which could lead to another missed game there, too.
The 49ers still have a tough defense, though, owning the third-best points allowed per game mark (15.6) despite back-to-back losses. Back in front of a home crowd, San Fran could feel rejuvenated despite missing key players.
Either way, Purdy’s last few weeks haven’t been too pleasant, as he’s facing the most adversity he’s seen early in his NFL career.