SANTA CLARA — The personnel the 49ers offense will face on Monday night is a challenge in itself.
But quarterback Brock Purdy and the rest of the 49ers' offense will be tested in other ways against the Baltimore Ravens, too.
“They're going to be mixing it up all game long, so it challenges all your protections,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “But the hardest thing is how to get people open. When they have seven in coverage they are very sound.”
The Ravens often have seven defensive players on the line of scrimmage to create the appearance of a blitz. They try to hide which players rush the pass and which players drop into coverage.
As Shanahan pointed out, the Ravens' defensive backs don't make it easy for receivers to get open.
“They definitely present challenges, that's why it's a big part of their game,” Trent Williams said. “It's really hard for the team to decide who's coming and who's not coming. They do a good job of getting you to keep your qualifications (for banning).”
Purdy's NFL MVP candidacy will face its biggest test this season — and that includes the mental aspect.
“We have our plan and our stuff, and we're just going to continue to play our style of play,” Purdy said. “Obviously there are some things you have to be prepared for and take into consideration every game with their players and what we're trying to do.
“We're going to play our game of the ball and we've got to understand what we're getting into with their defense.”
The Ravens enter Monday night tied for the NFL lead with 50 sacks, led by defensive tackle Justin Madubuike's 12 sacks. Baltimore's defense ranks first in points allowed and second in yards allowed.
Purdy will be challenged to recognize where the Ravens send their pressure on pass plays and where to find the open receiver against the Ravens' tight coverage.
His ability to read the defense quickly and track its progress has enabled him to put together an MVP-like season. Purdy leads the NFL with a 119.0 passer rating with 29 touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He was sent off just 26 times in 14 matches.
Purdy can't seem to be slowed down by defenses trying to mislead him with pre-snap looks before he switches to a pass rush or coverages designed to confuse him.
“This won't be the first time he's seen it, and it certainly won't be the last,” Williams said of Purdy. “From watching him play, I think he's doing a very good job.”
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”