The 49ers season nearly ended in the divisional round of the playoffs because of Brock Purdy’s excessive aggressiveness.
On multiple occasions, he forced passes into the intermediate area of the field rather than check down to a wide open teammate, and twice the Packers dropped potential game-changing interceptions.
Purdy thinks he’s a gunslinger, but he doesn’t have to be one. The 49ers are 11-0 when he doesn’t throw an interception, and 2-4 when he throws at least one. Which means his job is to protect the football, not take risks.
“I feel like there’s times in the game where you’re aggressive and you can think that there’s a window there and make a play,” Purdy said on Friday.
“Every decision is on the line here, so just go through what the coaches have taught all the quarterbacks and be smart. Not that you’re going to be timid and conservative, but if the defense isn’t running what we’re looking for, then take the check down. And I feel like during the game it was sort of looking for a big play periodically.”
The Packers used Purdy’s greed against him. You can bet the Lions will, too.
So this should be Purdy’s progression on Sunday:
2. Check down.
If the deep shot is open, throw it. The Lions take lots of risks in the secondary and give up lots and lots of long passes. Brandon Aiyuk should have a big game.
But if the deep shot isn’t open, check the ball down to someone in the flat. Forget throwing into the intermediate level of the field because that’s where the Lions defense will be packed.
Everyone knows Purdy wants to layer throws between defenders 10 to 20 yards downfield. If he tries to do that against the Lions, he’ll throw an interception.
Does Purdy have the discipline to check it down rather than force it into coverage? He didn’t last week. We’ll find out very soon.