Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was on the fortunate side of the Brock Purdy injury in the NFC Championship Game in January.
After switching sides in free agency, signing a four-year, $84 million contract with the San Francisco 49ers, Hargrave admitted on KNBR 680's Papa & Lund show on Friday that the game would have been much different had Purdy and backup Josh Johnson not gone down with injuries.
"We kind of knew it was going to be different when all you can do is run the ball," Hargrave said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "When both quarterbacks go out, and you know exactly what you're trying to do. Of course, it made it a lot easier for us.
"Trust me, we've seen the film on Brock escaping. We knew it was going to be a challenge trying to get to him, so it would have been, definitely, a different game if he had stayed up."
Purdy suffered a UCL injury on the first series that ultimately required offseason surgery. Then, Johnson suffered a concussion on a hit with more than 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter. With no emergency third QB available, Purdy reentered the game but couldn't throw much (two short passes the rest of the way), relegating the Niners' offense to predictable runs.
Who knows how the game would have played out had Purdy stayed healthy, but it surely would have been a more entertaining playoff game than the dull, perfunctory result the world watched. Instead, a hyped matchup between the two best teams in the NFC was over midway through the third quarter.
The injuries suffered by the Niners QBs have led to discussions of a potential rule change this offseason that would allow each team to suit up an emergency third QB if the first two go down.