The shorthanded 49ers were routed on Sunday afternoon in the NFC championship 31–7 at the hands of the Eagles.
It was a tough end to the year for San Francisco, especially considering the fact that Brock Purdy was injured on the first drive of the game. He came back in the second half out of necessity, but was not a threat to throw due to his elbow injury sustained in the first quarter.
Despite the nature of the loss that left the team two wins shy of a Super Bowl title, 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward elected to take a more optimistic view of his personal performance in the defeat.
Ward felt even better about his performance when he found out that DeVonta Smith’s first-quarter catch that set up a six-yard Miles Sanders touchdown run should have been ruled incomplete with Ward on the coverage.
“Was it incomplete?” Ward asked reporters. “It was? So you’re telling me they hit me with a [pass interference] that was a good play and they said he caught the ball? Oh man. I had a good game then! Jimmie Ward, man. I play nickel good and I play safety man, y’all already know what time it is, man.”
Ward is slated to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason after spending the first nine years of his NFL career in San Francisco. When asked how he would like to be remembered by fans if he doesn’t return, Ward said, “Great team player. That's who I was. That was my role here. And I think I took advantage of that. I feel like I made plays wherever they put me.”
The 49ers allowed just 121 passing yards in the loss, which was tied for the second-fewest all season, but with no offensive threat with Purdy unable to throw, San Francisco was a shell of itself on that side of the football.
Despite all of the injuries at the most important position on the field, the 49ers made a deep run in the playoffs, anyway. It bodes well for the future of the franchise.