The 49ers eventually prevailed, so that strange play is ultimately irrelevant.
SANTA CLARA The opening play of the second half was by far the most bizarre play in the 49ers’ playoff victory over the Packers.
Jauan Jennings was the 49ers’ running back with the ball. This was presumably a play the 49ers were going to run in Deebo Samuel’s absence due to a shoulder injury. He was replaced by Jennings. Now that Jennings was in the backfield, he lost a yard when Brock Purdy handed the ball to him.
The 49ers eventually prevailed, so that strange play is ultimately irrelevant. But it confused me so much that, following the game, I had to ask Kyle Shanahan why he made the call.
“Very good question,” grinned Shanahan. Here are a few of the difficulties that arise when something goes wrong and you have to call a wristband number. I should have reminded him not to read Hessi. But sometimes we just wear our wristbands like a Ron Burgundy. Then you notice that Jauan is in the backfield and you are powerless to stop him.
TRANSLATION: Shanahan said a number over the headset instead of the entire play call. Shanahan didn’t want Purdy to say the exact play that corresponded to the number on his wristband, so he looked it up. It seems that Shanahan intended to call a different version of that play, one without Jennings at running back.
This explanation seems strange.