Wednesday , May 22 2024

Celebratory cigars, dancing… and plenty of Super Bowl talk: joins San Francisco 49ers in their locker room for wild celebrations – as star QB Brock Purdy hails Brandon Aiyuk’s ‘insane’ catch that inspired win over the Lions

The San Francisco 49ers went wild in their locker room on Sunday night as they celebrated winning the NFC Championship and reaching the Super Bowl.

The 49ers staged one of the greatest post-season comebacks in NFL history by overturning a 24-7 deficit at halftime to beat the Detroit Lions 31-34 at a euphoric Levi’s Stadium.

Christian McCaffrey scored two touchdowns and Brandon Aiyuk got one of his own just moments after the wide receiver completed a remarkable catch that flipped the game on its head. 

Brock Purdy’s 51-yard pass deflected off a defender’s facemask into Aiyuk’s hands and was the catalyst for two touchdowns in the third quarter.

After lifting the NFC trophy on the pitch, 49ers quarterback Purdy was greeted on the pitch by his parents and fiancée Jenna Brandt.

Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk performed a handshake as they celebrated the 49ers victory

Aiyuk scored a touchdown and pulled off a remarkable catch that turned the game around

Brandon Aiyuk and Kyle Juszczyk performed a handshake as they celebrated the 49ers victory

Christian McCaffrey shows off his NFC Champions t-shirt as he prepares for the Super Bowl

Christian McCaffrey shows off his NFC Champions t-shirt as he prepares for the Super Bowl

Brock Purdy kisses fiancée Jenna Brandt on the field after inspiring the 49ers' comeback

Brock Purdy kisses fiancée Jenna Brandt on the field after inspiring the 49ers’ comeback

After hugging his mom and dad, Purdy then kissed Brandt and embraced her as they shared a loving moment on the field. 

His 49ers teammates and their families went back to the locker room to celebrate together, smoking cigars and dancing to music in ecstatic scenes.

Footage captured by shows an ecstatic Aiyuk and full back Kyle Juszczyk performing a synchronized handshake.

McCaffrey, meanwhile, showed off his NFC Champions t-shirt as he celebrated with tight end George Kittle in the next locker.

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49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan promised a night of partying and admitted his preparations for the Super Bowl and the Kansas City Chiefs would be shelved for the night.

Asked for his thoughts on a Super Bowl against the Chiefs, he said: ‘None. Excited that we’re going there and happy for the Chiefs, too.

‘Going to have a lot of fun tonight, probably, with my family and everything. 

‘I’ll come in a bit slow motion tomorrow and figure out all the Super Bowl tickets and traveling and everything. That takes a lot of time for the players and their families.

‘The coaches will start to get a go on Kansas City while they do all that, probably give the guys a couple of days off and then we’ll get to our game plan and practicing on Wednesday or Thursday.’

Brandon Aiyuk pulled off an 'insane' catch to completely change the course of the game

Brandon Aiyuk pulled off an ‘insane’ catch to completely change the course of the game

The 49ers scored 17 points in an eight-minute span of the third quarter to tie the NFC championship game and then pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a rematch against Kansas City after losing to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl four years ago.

‘No one was rah-rah,’ Purdy said. ‘No one was freaking out. It’s football. There’s a lot of experienced guys on this team, veteran guys who have been in crazy situations. We were just like, “We have to do our job.”‘

Speaking about Aiyuk’s unlikely catch, Purdy added: ‘Yeah, I mean, obviously to have an explosive play like that was huge in that moment. We needed it to get down the field pretty quick. We were still down I think two touchdowns.

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‘I saw the flag go up for sure. Then I heard the whole stadium erupt and I see BA (Aiyuk) curled up around the ball. Oh my gosh, he caught that.

‘After that, we’re all jogging down. I’m like, dang. We’re all trying to figure out if he scored or not, got touched, What I saw him catch that, I was like that’s insane.’

San Francisco mounted the fourth comeback ever from 17 points down or more in a conference title game thanks to some big plays by Purdy and bad mistakes from the Lions, including two failed fourth downs in field-goal range. Detroit fell short of reaching the first Super Bowl in franchise history.

‘We’re not going out like this,’ Shanahan said of the mindset at halftime.

 ‘Guys didn’t want today to be the last day. We put ourselves in a hole. They played like it in the second half and we were able to get the ball to bounce the right way and we made up for what we did in the first half.’

Kyle Shanahan admitted he'll probably be in 'slow motion' on Monday after a night of partying

Kyle Shanahan admitted he’ll probably be in ‘slow motion’ on Monday after a night of partying

Purdy admitted 'no one was freaking out' as San Francisco trailed by 17 points at halftime

Purdy admitted ‘no one was freaking out’ as San Francisco trailed by 17 points at halftime

After being questioned about whether he could lead a comeback, Purdy has now done it twice in as many weeks. He engineered a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter to beat Green Bay last week and then had an even bigger comeback against the Lions.

He finished with 267 yards passing and a touchdown, along with 48 yards rushing thanks to a pair of 21-yard scrambles. Now the last pick of the 2022 draft will be starting in the Super Bowl against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

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‘All he’s done since he’s been here is play at an elite level,’ McCaffrey said. 

‘Everything starts with him. We’re lucky he’s our quarterback. He takes a lot of heat for absolutely no reason.’

McCaffrey had two touchdown runs and little-used backup Elijah Mitchell scored on a 3-yard run to make it 34-24 with 3:02 to play as the Niners got over the conference title game hump after losing the past two seasons.

‘There’s been unfinished business for a while, man. Our team was set out for this for a long time,’ Shanahan said.

‘It’s been a long year to get to this point, and we got it done today. It was hard at the beginning, but the character we have in our team, the type of guys we have, we can’t wait to get to Vegas, man.’

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