49ers QB Brock Purdy in concussion protocol: What it means for San Francisco

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said quarterback Brock Purdy is in the concussion protocol. Here’s what you need to know:

What this means for San Francisco

Darnold is the 49ers’ backup quarterback and Shanahan said the team has full confidence in him if Purdy can’t play. The 49ers are still hopeful that Purdy can clear protocol by the game. Shanahan even said Purdy wouldn’t necessarily have to practice in order to play on Sunday, pointing to last season’s Thursday night win in Seattle, when Purdy played with a broken rib after not throwing the ball during practice that week.

Purdy will be cleared to participate in the 49ers’ bullpen on Wednesday. — David Lombardi, 49ers writer

Why are the 49ers still feeling optimistic?

Shanahan said Purdy felt better Wednesday than he did the day before and will be allowed on the field for the instructional portions of Wednesday’s practice. This has the team optimistic that he might be able to clear the concussion protocol and be able to play against the Bengals in Sunday’s game. Also encouraging: the way Purdy played in Seattle last season. He suffered a rib injury in the game before that game and the 49ers played the Seahawks on a short week.

Not only did Purdy not train fully, he barely threw a ball in the lead-up to the contest. However, he was mentally sharp in the game, completing 17 of 26 passes for 217 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. — Matt Barrows, 49ers writer

Turn to Darnold

If Purdy can’t clear the concussion protocol in time, the 49ers will turn to Darnold, who has been running the scout team offense and handling mop-up duties in games so far this season. The 49ers signed Danold during free agency because they liked him coming out of USC and liked the way he handled Carolina’s offense in his six starts at the end of the 2022 season. The Panthers went 4-2 in that start as Darnold threw seven touchdowns to three interceptions.

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The 49ers noticed that Darnold got a boost from the dedicated running game in those starts, something he hasn’t always had in his career. He should have a strong rushing attack at his disposal if he starts Sunday’s game. Christian McCaffrey — Darnold’s former teammate in Carolina — did not suffer any other damage to his sore oblique area during the Vikings game and will not be limited in practice this week, Shanahan said. — wheelbarrows

How Darnold stacks up

Despite the Niners’ two-game losing streak, Purdy still leads the NFL in expected points added per dropback ratio, via TruMedia, after Week 7. Of course, Purdy came off strong to start last season as he ranked fifth among all EPA quarterbacks per dropback over the span of Weeks 10-18 at 0.16.

Now where did Darnold stand during that time as a starter for the Carolina Panthers?

Third, behind only Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes.

There’s likely a reason the 49ers are targeting Darnold as Purdy’s backup in free agency this offseason. — Larry Holder, NFL senior writer

When the injury has occurred

Purdy’s teammates said they didn’t notice anything wrong with the quarterback during or after the game and most didn’t know he was in concussion protocol until they arrived at the team facility Wednesday morning. The hit that caused the concussion may have occurred on an offside kick in the fourth quarter as the crown of Vikings linebacker Jordan Hicks’ helmet collided with the front of Purdy. On the next play, Purdy made the worst throw of the game, one up the middle of the field that was intercepted by safety Camryn Bynum.

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Purdy then said he lost sight of his target, Juwan Jennings, during the play and threw where he thought Jennings would be. Purdy also threw an interception, his third of the season, on the ensuing drive, sealing the game. — wheelbarrows

Required reading

(Photo: David Berding/Getty Images)

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