49ers QB Brock Purdy on Track to Play Against Bengals After Concussion

Brock Purdy

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy is making progress through the concussion protocol after suffering a head injury in Monday night’s loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Purdy reported symptoms on the flight home and was placed in the protocol on Tuesday. He was able to participate in a portion of the team’s walkthrough practice on Wednesday, but still remains in the protocol as of Thursday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said that Purdy has enough time to clear the protocol and play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals, as long as he doesn’t have any setbacks. He said he would be comfortable with Purdy playing without practicing this week, citing his performance in a Thursday night game last season against Seattle when he didn’t practice because of injured ribs.

“He definitely has enough time,” Shanahan said. “He just has to go through the process.”

Shanahan said he was not sure when Purdy took the hit that caused the concussion, but speculated that it might have happened on a quarterback sneak attempt midway through the fourth quarter. He said he didn’t see any signs on film that Purdy was affected by it down the stretch, but he did throw interceptions on his final two drives of the 22-17 loss.

Brock Purdy

Darnold Ready to Step Up if Needed

If Purdy can’t go on Sunday, the Niners will turn to Sam Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick who signed with San Francisco as the backup this season. Darnold struggled for his first five seasons with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers before joining the Niners. He beat out rookie Trey Lance, the 2021 No. 3 overall pick, for the backup job.

“I have as much confidence in Sam as I could with someone I haven’t gotten into a real NFL game with,” Shanahan said. “He was great in the offseason and great in these seven weeks so far. He’s always ready go.”

Darnold has started 55 games in his career, but has posted a dismal 78.2 passer rating, the worst among 38 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 1,000 passes since he entered the league in 2018. But Darnold has never had as talented a team to work with as he has in San Francisco. The Niners were impressed with Darnold’s work in the offseason and preseason and said that he has been doing well as the scout team quarterback.

“He’s accurate, a decisive thrower, good with his reads and everything,” cornerback Charvarius Ward said. “I think if we need him this week, I expect him to go out there and put up some points.”

Wilks Scouting Report on Bengals Offense

The Niners will face a tough challenge on Sunday against the Bengals, who have won three of their last four games before their bye week. The Bengals boast a potent offense led by quarterback Joe Burrow and his top target, rookie Ja’Marr Chase. The duo has a unique chemistry that dates back to their college days at LSU, where they won a national championship together.

“It starts with the quarterback,” defensive coordinator Steve Wilks said. ” (Burrow and Chase) have a unique relationship, ball placement. Burrow is phenomenal in throwing the back shoulder and gives the receivers the only opportunity sometimes to catch it.”

“That chemistry is there. (Chase) is just so dynamic after the catch. It’s hard to give him a lot of space… You definitely have to have a lot of zone eyes on him.”

Chase has been one of the best receivers in the league this season, averaging eight catches and 92 yards per game. He has had 70-plus yards in Weeks 3 through 6 and has scored six touchdowns. He is a leading candidate for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.

But Wilks warned that focusing too much on Chase could leave other receivers open, such as Tyler Boyd and Tee Higgins, who are also capable of making big plays.

“I will say this, if you try to overplay him, those two are going to hurt you as well,” Wilks said. “We talked about that trio.”

Wilks also noted that Burrow was dealing with an early season leg injury that limited his mobility and forced him to operate mostly out of shotgun formations. He said he expects Burrow to be healthier and more versatile after the bye week.

“I think they were productive (in first half of the season), but you can see things on tape, the injury is there,” Wilks said. “A lot of things they’ve been doing are out of the gun. He normally operates things underneath the center. We’ll see exactly how it is on Sunday. The guy is very capable of running the offense to the fullest.”

The Niners will need to pressure Burrow and disrupt his timing with his receivers if they want to snap their two-game losing streak and keep pace in the NFC playoff race.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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