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NFL Power Rankings: Can 49ers win a Super Bowl without their top 2 QBs? It’s happened before

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Injury-strapped backup quarterbacks have won more Super Bowls than you might think.

Jim Plunkett was an unfortunate Heisman Trophy winner, backing Dan Pastorini in 1980 with the Oakland Raiders, and threw one pass all season when Pastorini broke his leg in Game 5 of the Raiders. Plunkett took over and the Raiders won the Super Bowl a few months later. Jeff Hostetler started two NFL games when the 1990 New York Giants needed him to replace an injured Phil Simms at the end of the regular season. Hostetler played pretty well and the Giants won Super Bowl XXV. In 2018, Nick Falls replaced an injured Carson Wentz and went on a magical ride that ended with the Philadelphia Eagles’ first Super Bowl win.

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And we all know the origin stories of Kurt Warner and Tom Brady.

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What the San Francisco 49ers will face in the rest of this season isn’t impossible, but it’s not easy. San Francisco lost not one quarterback, but two after Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury. Trey Lance’s season ended in its second week. Many NFL teams have a hard time finding a good QB. It is impossible to expect a team to have three good players. When you lose your top two, there is little you can do about it.

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That said, if any team can field just about any quarterback and still succeed, it might be the 49ers.

Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers was out for the season with an injury in week 13.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo of the San Francisco 49ers was out for the season with an injury in week 13. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Either way, San Francisco has never relied on its quarterback. The 49ers have arguably the best defense in the NFL. They may also have the best collection of players with or close to skill position. All the 49ers asked Garoppolo to do was lead the attack and pass the ball to the 49ers star hitters in time. He was great in this role.

Sunday was not a good day for the 49ers, but it was hopeful. Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 draft, was scheduled to play for Garoppolo. At that point, the Miami Dolphins were leading the AFC East and their only loss came to an injury to Tua Tagovailoa. And the 49ers blasted them 33-17.

Purdy played very well. He completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. This was to be expected from a seventh-round pick coming off the bench. He played exactly the way Kyle Shanahan wants his quarterbacks to play, that is, lead the offense as directed. He wasn’t dynamic, but he did light passes. Whether it’s Purdy, new addition Josh Johnson, or someone else out of the spotlight (there’ll be a lot of speculation about Baker Mayfield, but have you seen Mayfield play this season? He’s not answering anyone right now), the 49ers will ask this quarterback not to be a hero. and just run the crime. Maybe that’s good enough.

However, for all the optimism we can muster, the 49ers have a very tough road ahead of them. They’re taking a third quarterback, maybe Mister Irrelevant in this year’s draft, or maybe a veteran journeyman who was on a record 14 NFL teams, and trying to win the Super Bowl. They don’t even set up as well as you’d hope in a running game because Elijah Mitchell is out with a knee injury and Christian McCaffrey has health issues that could prevent him from carrying out a full workload for the next day. a couple of months. It doesn’t look like they can ask McCaffrey to hit 30 in a game.

Make whatever you want out of that statistic, but Shanahan’s record as a head coach without Garoppolo as his starting quarterback is 9-29. Whatever limitations Garoppolo has, he’s a perfect fit for Shanahan.

It’s a brutal injury for the 49ers because they have the talent to make the Super Bowl and the NFC isn’t that great. It was easy to see the 49ers pick up the pace and make another Super Bowl. Maybe this run is still possible. It would make a great story.

Here is the strength rating after week 13 of the NFL season:

32. Houston Texans (1-10-1, last week: 32)

The Texans shouldn’t have switched to Kyle Allen as a quarterback. Allen posted a 60.6 passer rating while Houston became completely uncompetitive. The Texans should go back to Davis Mills unless their plan was to fight Allen for the first overall pick in the draft. If that was the plan, it works.

31. Denver Broncos (3-9, HB: 31)

This is one of the most unwatched teams in recent NFL history.

30. Chicago Bears (3-10, LV: 30)

It’s hard to come into the team in the middle of the season and make an impact. However, the Bears likely want more from Chase Claypool than 12 catches for 111 yards in five games. Claypool still has plenty of time to become the No. 1 wide receiver for Chicago, but at the cost of a second-round pick, the Bears need him to hit, and he hasn’t shown anything yet.

29. Los Angeles Rams (3-9, HB: 29)

The Rams fought. They led Seattle with less than three minutes left despite having some of the best players in football on the injured list. Give them credit for their efforts. But this is another defeat, the sixth in a row. This is the longest losing streak a reigning Super Bowl champion has ever had.

28. Carolina Panthers (4-8, HB: 28)

The final cost of Baker Mayfield’s experiment was a fifth-round pick and less than $5 million. It’s a worthwhile risk for a quarterback who was recently selected first in the draft. It didn’t work out and Mayfield was cut on Monday. It happens. Now the Panthers must figure out what’s next.

27. Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1, LM: 25)

Everyone was itching to declare Jeff Saturday’s experiment a disaster, and for the last two weeks he’s given them a shot, with a clock management fiasco against the Steelers and a fourth-quarter fiasco in Dallas on Sunday night. But was it that bad for the Colts? They beat the Raiders who haven’t lost since, they almost beat the Eagles 11-1, they had a close loss to a Steelers team who won three of four and were trailing 21-19 at the start fourth quarter for the Cowboys. which are one of the best teams in football. Yes, 33-0 in the fourth quarter on Sunday night was ridiculous, but Saturday’s experiment isn’t going as badly as social media might lead you to believe.

26. New Orleans Saints (4-9, HB: 27)

Saints’ last two throws (not counting the final game of desperation): six plays, 2 yards, two quick punts. This included a strange skip on third and first which was incomplete and stopped the clock. This is what opened the way for Tampa Bay to victory with 3 seconds left. The Saints would be polygamous from the top spot in NFC South. Now their playoff hopes are practically dead. They blew it up.

25. Arizona Cardinals (4-8, HB: 24)

The Cardinals aren’t looking to make the playoffs, but they could end the season on a high note. They must finally be healthy or shut down after their date. It would be fun to see an attack with Kyler Murray, James Conner, DeAndre Hopkins, Marquise Brown and Rondale Moore playing together. The question is whether the Cardinals are motivated. Head coach Cliff Kingsbury hopes so.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8, LR: 22)

When Trevor Lawrence went down at the end of the first half, it looked like he was injured at the end of the season. His leg was pinched under him and he remained lying down for a while. It was amazing to see him go early in the second half. The 40-14 loss was embarrassing, but it would have been far worse for the Jaguars if they had lost the quarterback to a serious injury.

23. Atlanta Falcons (5-8, HB: 18)

On Sunday, the Falcons missed a sack for the second consecutive game. They have only 17 sacks this season, only the Bears have fewer. Atlanta have a lot of needs next offseason, but finding a pass rusher should come first.

22. Green Bay Packers (5-8, HB: 21)

The packers must be set forward on the receiver. Romeo Doubs has shown from time to time that he can make a difference, especially as a fourth-round draft pick. And second-round pick Christian Watson is a revelation. He may end up stealing the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. He will be a star for years to come.

21. Las Vegas Raiders (5-7, DW: 26)

A few weeks ago, the Raiders looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL. After a couple of overtime victories and a victory over the Chargers, they can dream of winning and making the playoffs. It will happen? This is very unlikely. But the fact that it’s mathematically possible is a positive thing. They changed the situation.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7, LM: 23)

Pat Freiermuth is likely one of the NFL’s top 5 tight ends before the end of his second season. He was the Steelers’ top hitter on Sunday with 76 yards in a win over the Falcons. The Steelers have some really good positional talent, as well as a rising rookie quarterback in Kenny Pickett.

19. Cleveland Browns (5-7, HB: 19)

Deshawn Watson looked like a player who hadn’t played competitively for 23 months. It wasn’t just rusty, it wasn’t even close to many rolls. …


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