SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Brock Purdy threw three touchdown passes and ran for a fourth score in his playoff debut, leading the San Francisco 49ers to a 41-23 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a wild-card game on Saturday.
Purdy picked up where he left off in the regular season for the 49ers (14-4) and showed few signs of playoff jitters by winning his sixth straight start since replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in a Week 13 win over Miami.
The Niners advanced to the divisional round where they will host either Minnesota, Tampa Bay or Dallas next weekend.
Purdy connected on a 3-yard pass to Christian McCaffrey in the first quarter, converted a 1-yard sneak in the third quarter and a 7-yard TD pass to Elijah Mitchell early in the fourth to make it 31-17.
Purdy threw for 332 yards – the second most ever for a rookie in the playoffs to Russell Wilson‘s 385 in a loss to Atlanta 10 years ago – and he became the first rookie QB ever to account for four TDs in a playoff game.
The Seahawks (9-9) kept it close for most of three quarters before a strip sack by Charles Omenihu late in the third quarter spoiled a red zone drive.
Purdy then hit Jauan Jennings on a 33-yard pass to set up the TD pass to Mitchell that broke the game open. Purdy tied an NFL record for rookies set by Justin Herbert with his seventh straight game with multiple TD passes.
San Francisco piled on from there.
The loss brought a disappointing end to a surprising season for the Seahawks, who got into the playoffs on the final weekend in their first season after trading away Wilson.
Geno Smith stepped in admirably, throwing 30 TD passes in the regular season and keeping it close for a while in the playoff game thanks to a 50-yard TD pass to DK Metcalf in the first half.
Smith finished 25 for 35 for 253 yards, two TDs and one interception.
The Niners raced out to a 10-0 lead after two possessions getting a field goal on the opening drive and then a 3-yard pass from Purdy to McCaffrey following McCaffrey’s 68-yard run on the second possession.
But Seattle battled back with a 14-play drive capped by Kenneth Walker’s 7-yard run and the deep pass to Metcalf.
The Seahawks took a 17-16 lead into the half thanks to a bonehead play by Niners safety Jimmie Ward. Smith scrambled 9 yards to his own 47 with 1 second left in the half, but Ward hit him late after he started sliding.
The 15-yard penalty moved the ball to the San Francisco 38 and Jason Myers made a 56-yard field goal to make it 17-16 at the half.
Seattle became the third team since the start of the 2000 postseason to lead at the half in a playoff game after trailing by at least 10 at the end of the first quarter.