Students disappointed with another 49ers NFC Championship loss

February 9, 2023 — by Nikhil Mathihalli and Kavya Patel
Juniors Emily Ta and Josh Ta with their family and friends at the 49ers home playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys on Jan. 22. 
Juniors Emily Ta and Josh Ta and senior Max Timmons reflect on the bittersweet season with brutal quarterback injuries and a Cinderella story from third-string quarterback Brock Purdy, but ultimately another loss right before the Super Bowl.

Going into the 2022-23 NFL playoffs, many local fans expected the San Francisco 49ers to return to the Super Bowl — but in the end, they were one game short. Just like last year. 

With a young and strong roster including key players like rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, all-pro tight end George Kittle and defensive MVP candidate lineman Nick Bosa, plus a massive mid-season addition in running back Christian McCaffrey, the San Francisco 49ers were among the top teams to win Super Bowl LVII, riding on a massive 10-game win streak to finish the regular season.

However, after cruising past the Seattle Seahawks in the wild card round and edging the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round, the 49ers ran into a brick wall of bad luck when they traveled to Philadelphia on Jan. 29. After seeing Purdy injured and unable to throw in the first series of the game, they went on to lose 31-7 to the Eagles — the top team in the NFC — in the NFC championship game, continuing their recent streak of falling just short of the Lombardi Trophy. In the 2021-22 NFL playoffs, the 49ers also lost in the NFC championship to the Los Angeles Rams, and in 2019-2020, they made it to Super Bowl LIV but lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.

These recent events have left many 49ers fans disappointed. Many superfans across the school, such as juniors Emily Ta and Josh Ta and senior Max Timmons, believed the 49ers could win it all this season. However, despite the loss to the Eagles, they remain hopeful for the future of the team.

 As super fans of the 49ers for around 13 years, juniors Josh Ta and Emily Ta believe that the major reason behind the team’s loss is the team’s “bad injury luck and the lack of a quarterback.”

The Ta family has been season ticket holders since Levi’s Stadium first opened in 2014, and hosts tailgate events before every home game, inviting family and friends to hang out before getting ready for the football game.

When watching the NFC championship game against the Eagles, Josh was disappointed at the unfolding of events but said that it was understandable considering the situation the 49ers were placed in.

“I’m definitely sad that we lost and did not like the way we went out,” he said. “But I’m glad that we even made it this far with Brock Purdy. We were on our third-string quarterback and the fact that we even made it this far is a miracle.”

The 49ers’ original starting quarterback, Trey Lance, suffered a broken foot against the Miami Dolphins in December and was ruled out for the season. Their second-string quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, broke his fibula and tore his deltoid and syndesmotic ligaments and was ruled out for the season in September. As a result, third-stringer Purdy — previously known as Mr. Irrelevant due to being the last draft pick in the 2022 draft — became the team’s quarterback.

Emily was happy that the 49ers were able to make it to the NFC championship game but saddened by the result of the game.

“I feel like we didn’t even get a chance to play with Purdy and several other players getting hurt so early into the game,” she said.

Bosa was one of the other players who got hurt, as he suffered a knee injury early in the game which caused his play to worsen as the game went on.

Overall, however, both Emily and Josh are optimistic for the team’s future — they hope that the team’s new defensive coordinator, Steve Wilks, is an effective coach and that the team will acquire solid cornerbacks to make another title run next year.

Senior Max Timmons and his family have been 49ers fans for over a decade. They have been season ticket holders since 2012 — when Timmons fell in love with football.

Timmons felt that the loss against the Eagles was “tough, mostly because the team went through four quarterbacks,” which was “hard to watch.”

He was also disappointed by the string of late losses in previous years: Timmons and his family attended Super Bowl LIV against the Chiefs in person. In that game, the 49ers led the game 20-10 at the end of the 3rd quarter but allowed a devastating 21 points in the 4th quarter to ultimately lose 31-20.

“I was feeling pretty good until the 3rd quarter,” Timmons said. “Then things started going south. It’s one thing to not make the playoffs every year, but it’s another to make it every year and get eliminated. It just sucks.”

Regardless, Timmons believes the team’s situation is “ideal” and is set up for success in future seasons.

“I think our two-quarterback situation isn’t bad,” he said. “I think Lance will be our main guy next season, but if things don’t work out we can also go with Purdy, who was great this season. Regardless of what’s happened, I’m still excited for [the team’s] future.”

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