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49ers Update; Brock Purdy silences the doubters boosting 49ers’ playoff prospects

Jan 12, 2024 #Brock Purdy

When the San Francisco 49ers reported to training camp, the biggest questions surrounding one of the most talented teams in the NFL centered around quarterback Brock Purdy.

As a seventh-round rookie, Purdy needs to prove that his late-season success in 2022 was no fluke and that the serious elbow injury that derailed San Francisco’s Super Bowl hopes won’t sideline him this season.

After going through the regular season, posting the most efficient numbers for a quarterback and starting every game before a meaningless Week 18, Purdy has answered all the questions.

Now he has to prove he can be the quarterback who can help carry the Niners to the Super Bowl title that has eluded them under coach Kyle Shanahan.

Purdy and the 49ers (12-5) earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye thanks in part to his play. San Francisco has been trying to get in shape this week before opening the postseason at home on Jan. 20 or 21 against the lowest seed in the NFC playoffs after Wild Card Weekend.

Purdy, who made the playoffs as a rookie last season, knows what to expect when the stakes are higher this time of year.


“I just feel like you get everybody’s best ball,” he said. “Everyone is determined to do what they have to do at a high level. Every trip, every game is so important.

Of course, it has to be like that in the regular season, and I felt that way in the postseason last year as well. … Every property counts. Not turning the ball over, like all the little things matter. So, I just feel like the intensity is just cranked up a little bit more.”

Purdy handled that fine last year, throwing for 332 yards with three touchdown passes and a TD run in a wild-card win against Seattle and then playing a turnover-free game in a divisional round win against Dallas.

He then injured his elbow on the opening drive of the NFC title game against Philadelphia and was forced back into the game in the second half even though he couldn’t throw the ball more than a few yards.

That led to the elbow surgery in March and the questions at the beginning of the season that Purdy answered emphatically.

He began throwing in late May and was back at practice for training camp when he quickly put to rest any questions about whether he would be the Week 1 starter in San Francisco.

He then delivered right from the start of the season. He became the first Niners quarterback in more than 20 years to throw for more than 4,000 yards (4,280) or at least 30 TDs (31).

He led the NFL with a 113 passer rating and his 9.6 yards per attempt were the most in the NFL for a qualifying QB since Kurt Warner had 9.9 in 2000.

“He’s mature enough to handle that pressure of being the 49ers’ starting quarterback, breaking records in his first career season as a starter,” Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle said. “There’s a lot that people expect out of Brock, but I think he just does such a good job of being himself.”

Yet Purdy still faced skeptics who credited his success to Shanahan’s innovative schemes and playmakers like NFL rushing leader Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel and Kittle.

But none of those doubters were in his locker room.

“I don’t get why people say he’s a system quarterback,” left tackle Trent Williams said. “No system quarterback can make tight-window throws before they’re there, throwing people open, putting the ball into a window and trusting his receiver to get there. Layering balls over linebackers who are in good position.

He’s so accurate. You see a lot of throws and accuracy gives players a chance to run after the catch. I don’t think he gets enough credit for that.”

Purdy’s play this season has been a bit low, as he struggled to lead the Niners from behind during a three-game losing streak in October and threw four interceptions in the Christmas Day game against Baltimore.

But he never shied away from taking responsibility for his mistakes, and no matter what obstacles came his way in the playoffs, he always responded in a way that gave his teammates confidence that he could handle them.

“I’m not worried about Purdy at all,” Kittle said. “He had several interceptions during the game. I’m not really worried. “He will come back like he always does.”

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