NFC Championship 2023 Comparisons: Quarterbacks

Bill Streicher, USA TODAY Sports

Leading up to the Philadelphia Eagles match-up with the San Francisco 49ers next weekend, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.

In this edition of our week-long comparison, we will look at the quarterbacks that the Eagles and 49ers will field for the third time this season.


Philadelphia QBs | Jalen Hurts, Gardner Minshew, Ian Book

Jalen Hurts was on the way to an MVP-type season before getting injured in the third quarter of their Chicago Bears matchup. He went from an 8-7 record to a 14-1 record as a starter accruing 22 passing touchdowns and 13 rushing touchdowns, going 306-for-460 on the season. He also threw six interceptions this season. Hurts had back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week awards in addition to an NFC Offensive Player of the Month award. In the Divisional round, he showed a return to his midseason form that had him as a top MVP candidate.

Gardner Minshew stepped in where needed, even if he didn’t have the season Eagles fans were hoping for in order to continue their win streaks, going 0-2 on the season. He went 44-for-76 for three passing touchdowns and a share of rushing touchdowns as well.

We haven’t seen any of Ian Book this season, but last season he had a 60% completion percentage and threw two interceptions with the New Orleans Saints.


49ers QBs | Brock Purdy, Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Johnson

Brock Purdy is Mr. Irrelevant and that has granted him a firestorm of media hype. In nine games, Purdy has put up 1374 yards and 13 touchdowns compared to four interceptions. He has shown no real ability to run the ball and did lots of crazy dancing in the Divisional round against the Dallas pass rush. He is currently averaging less than two deep tries per game, keeping most of his passes under 10 yards and relying more on his receivers to break off some yards after the catch rather than throw the ball deep.

What is there to say about Jimmy G? He appeared in 10 games this season and put up 2437 yards and a 16:4 touchdown to interception ratio. It’s his ninth season in the league and his sixth with the 49ers and yet he still appears to have no control over the starting job with half the league arguing he’s nothing more than a backup. He’s shown a propensity to do well and put up numbers in the regular season, but has not had a good playoff history, averaging just 160 passing yards per game in the playoffs. He also averages an interception per game and only has four touchdowns across his six playoff starts. Garoppolo has been dealing with an injury but is expected back by Sunday. The 49ers could probably start him if they wanted, but will likely go with the hot hand in Purdy.

Josh Johnson is in his eighth season with an NFL team, though he originally joined the league via Washington in 2008. He has appeared in the CFL, AAF and XFL since then. This is his fourth stint in San Francisco, but he has been in for only 22 snaps this season when the 49ers had games in hand.


Edge:

Hurts is clearly the better quarterback. With his return to MVP-level form in the divisional round, his skills are no comparison for that of the rookie Purdy, who is showing just how system-oriented San Francisco’s offense is after they are experiencing success with what is their third QB this season. Hurts is a player who has shown he can make plays on his own when his team needs it while Purdy is a product of relying on the rest of his offense to see success. If the 49ers decide to go with Jimmy G, he’s not shown much in the playoffs and would need to entirely flip that history on it’s head to make an impact on the Eagles defense.


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