Rookie Purdy leads 49ers past Seattle in playoff opener

Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy led the San Francisco 49ers into the divisional round of the NFL playoffs with a stellar second-half performance in Saturday's 41-23 wildcard round win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Purdy, who only took on the starting role last month after injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, became the first rookie quarterback with three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown in a playoff game.

Putting any early nerves aside, Purdy threw for 332 yards and no interceptions while running back Christian McCaffrey rushed for 119 yards.

"We are taking it one day at a time but we have got a goal of winning the whole thing, we are in tournament play so anything can happen," Purdy told Fox television.

"I have got such a great team, offensive line, defense, receivers, across the board, it is not a one-man show," he added.

The 49ers made a strong start, opening up a 10-0 lead when the powerful McCaffrey, rushed three yards into the endzone to finish off a drive that had seen him produce a blistering 68-yard run.

But Seattle responded early in the second quarter with Kenneth Walker III's seven-yard rush completing a 14-play, 85-yard drive.

A 33-yard field goal from Robbie Gould for the 49ers made it 13-7 but Seattle were not about to fade away and got themselves in front when quarterback Geno Smith found D.K. Metcalf with a 50-yard pass, deep left.

Another Gould field goal restored San Francisco's advantage but then some ill-discipline from the normally rock solid 'Niners defense allowed the Seahawks to go in at half-time with a 17-16 lead.

Smith was sliding when Jimmie Ward inexplicably dived into a low tackle conceding a 15-yard penalty which allowed Jason Myers to convert a 56-yard field goal.

But San Francisco started the second half in emphatic fashion with a 13-play drive ending in a quarterback sneak from Purdy.

Smith was than sacked by Charles Omenihu with Nick Bosa recovering the ball for a decisive turnover which San Francisco took maximum advantage of.

Purdy connected with Jauan Jennings with a 33-yard pass and then found Elijah Mitchell with a short pass which the running back took into the end zone.

The 49ers opted for a two point conversion attempt which succeeded with Purdy finding tight-end George Kittle to make it 31-17 and leave the Seahawks needing two touchdowns.

Instead, Seattle fell further behind when they left Deebo Samuel in acres of space to collect a pass from Purdy and then burst down the left for a 74-yard touchdown.

When Smith was picked off by Deommodore Lenoir it was all over for a Seattle team who had snuck into the playoff when the Green Bay Packers lost their final game of the regular season.

The Seahawks reduced the deficit inside the last two minutes with Smith finding Metcalf with a three-yard pass.

The Jacksonville Jaguars were hosting the Los Angeles Chargers in their AFC wildcard game later on Saturday.