Purdy and 49ers swat aside Seahawks in dominant second half to reach Divisional round

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The San Francisco 49ers advanced to the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs with an 11th straight victory on Saturday, recovering from a rocky first half against the Seattle Seahawks in some style.

The 49ers, led by rookie quarterback Brock Purdy and backed up by a league-leading defense, had twice beaten NFC West rivals the Seahawks this season and clearly had momentum on their side heading into their Wild Card matchup.

But a 41-23 win at Levi's Stadium was not initially as straightforward as many would have imagined – or as the final scoreline suggests, as Seattle scored 17 second-quarter points.

Purdy trailed at halftime for the first time despite San Francisco making the stronger start. Kenneth Walker ran in for the Seahawks after Christian McCaffrey had caught the opening touchdown pass, then Geno Smith – another playoff debutant but nine years older than Purdy – connected with D.K. Metcalf for a 50-yard score.

The 49ers got back on track with a TD drive to start the second half, though, and their defense belatedly came to the party when Charles Omenihu forced a fumble that was recovered by Nick Bosa.

After zero turnovers and zero penalties in the first half, the Seahawks soon unravelled, unable to respond either when Purdy superbly sought out Elijah Mitchell in the endzone or when a pass to Deebo Samuel gave him space to race away for a 74-yard TD.

Smith swiftly threw an interception as Seattle waited until after the two-minute warning for their first score of the second half, while Purdy showed no signs of slowing his remarkable rise as he finished with 332 yards and three TDs through the air in his sixth straight win to start his career.

The 2022 NFL Draft's 'Mr Irrelevant' has extended the 49ers' winning streak to 11 – tying their third-longest of all time – and continues to look capable of carrying one of the league's most talented rosters all the way in this postseason.