Despite losing the game by a score of 31-7, star wide receiver Deebo Samuel still believes that the San Francisco 49ers were the better team than the Philadelphia Eagles on the day.
During a recent interview with Complex, Samuel said that there is “no question” the Niners were the better team than the Eagles and only lost due to the injuries at the quarterback position.
“No question… We lost because we played with 10 people,” Samuel said. “I ain’t going to keep going on about what could’ve happened and what would’ve happened but yeah, it would’ve definitely been a different outcome (if healthy).”
While the NFC Championship game was expected to be an evenly matched tilt, the Niners ultimately had to play with one hand tied behind their back as breakout rookie quarterback Brock Purdy exited the game with an elbow injury during the team’s first offensive possession.
Purdy was already the team’s third-string quarterback — Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were injured earlier in the year — thus forcing the 49ers to turn to fourth-string journeyman Josh Johnson, who has signed off the Denver Broncos practice squad just about two months prior.
Making matters worse for the 49ers, Johnson was knocked out of the game with a concussion at the start of the second half, which forced the Nieners to turn back to Purdy despite the fact that he literally could not throw the ball. All of this, obviously, is what Samuel means when he says the team was forced to play with 10 men.
Heading into the 2023 season, the bookmakers certainly believe that the Niners — who are expected to start Brock Purdy at quarterback — are in the same class as the Eagles as the two teams are two of the three betting favorites, alongside the Kansas City Chiefs, to win next year’s Super Bowl.