49ers vs Eagles NFC Championship: QB matchup | Brock Purdy vs Jalen Hurts
When these two quarterbacks meet in the NFC Championship game on Sunday, it will be in a rematch from their college days in the Big 12.
The No. 1 Philadelphia Eagles will host the No. 2 San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Conference title game this Sunday. We will get to see Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts up against Niners quarterback Brock Purdy, a QB battle we’ve yet to see…in the NFL at least.
If you pay attention at all to college ball though, you may have seen these two face off in the Big 12 back in 2019 when Hurts played for the Oklahoma Sooners and Purdy played for the Iowa State Cyclones. Before we dive into the stats of these two great athletes and start comparing their time in the NFL and previewing the game on Sunday, let’s have a look back at that game and how they both fared then.
The last battle between Hurts and Purdy
When Hurts played Iowa State, the Sooners were the clear favorites and ranked no. 9. Just like what’s happened in the NFL with the Niners, Purdy was the third string QB but given a chance to start due to injuries. At halftime, the game was going about as expected, Hurts having thrown five touchdowns and OU leading 35-14. The tables did turn though. In the third quarter, the two teams exchanged touchdowns, but in the fourth, it was all about Iowa State as they scored three back-to-back touchdowns to bring the game within a point with just 24 seconds left. Cyclones coach Matt Campbell decided to go for two for the win instead of tying the game with an extra point. Very unfortunately for them and especially Purdy, he threw an interception on that two-point attempt, handing Hurts and the Sooners the 42-41 victory.
In that game, Hurts completed 18 of 26 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns and one interception. He rushed 22 times for 68 yards and two more touchdowns. Purdy completed 19 of 30 passes for 282 yards and five touchdowns, and rushed 15 times for 55 yards and one more touchdown.
Hurts vs Purdy: How do they compare?
Hurts and Purdy are both incredible athletes and quite young ones, too. In fact, they will become the first pair of starting QBs in a conference final under the age of 25 (Purdy is 23 and Hurts is 24).
The 2019 game Hurts played against Purdy was his final college game, and he went on to be drafted in the second round by the Eagles in the 2020 Draft. Hurts is now in his third season in the NFL. He started as a backup to Carson Wentz but by 2021, he had the no. 1 job and he took the Eagles to the playoffs. This season, he has really blossomed, leading the Eagles to the no. 1 seed in the NFC and now to the NFC title game, plus is up there in the MVP race. He has thrown for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns with just six interceptions on the season and with a 66.5% completion percentage. He is also the rushing king - he had 760 rushing yards with 13 rushing touchdowns this season.
Purdy is a rookie this year, picked last - 262nd - in the 2022 NFL Draft and set as the third string quarterback for the Niners. It was only because of injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo that he was given the starting job. Now that he’s in, he’s continued their long winning streak by winning seven more games and has the Niners one win away from going to the Super Bowl. This time, he’ll be looking to avenge that pick he threw in 2019 and prove himself as one of the elite. Purdy, though he’s played much fewer games than Hurts, has a similar completion percentage of 67.1%. In nine games, he has completed 114-of-170 passes and 13 touchdowns with four interceptions. He also adds one rushing touchdown on the season.
The thing is, both of these quarterbacks are currently working with a team of talented players. I doubt very much that we will see a high-scoring shootout like we did when they played in college. They both have dominant defenses - the Niners, the best scoring defense in the league (16.3 points allowed per game in the regular season), and the Eagles tied for seventh in the league (20.2 in the regular season). This game is going to come down to which quarterback can keep his cool and not make mistakes.
Hurts has the experience and the stats to be viewed as the better quarterback in this battle. But Purdy has been the surprise of the season and has a lot to play for as he looks to make an argument for being the Niners starting quarterback next season.
The Niners vs Eagles game kicks off at 3 p.m. ET from Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.