Aiyuk believes 49ers' offense still growing with rookie Purdy


SANTA CLARA — Quarterback Brock Purdy spent most of the season working with the 49ers’ scout team in practices.

He threw passes against the 49ers’ first-team defense to the likes of practice-squad wide receivers Willie Snead IV, Tay Martin and Dazz Newsome.

Only since he replaced Jimmy Garoppolo on Dec. 4 has Purdy spent much time working with the team’s regulars, including 1,000-yard receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

“I’m starting to know him now, getting to work with him a little more, being able to talk with him a little more, just talking football, seeing the type of dude he is,” Aiyuk said.

Aiyuk, in his third NFL season, posted career highs this season with 78 receptions for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns.

Garoppolo was the quarterback on five of Aiyuk’s touchdown receptions. Purdy threw two touchdowns to Aiyuk, and Aiyuk’s other score came on a halfback pass from Christian McCaffrey.

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Elijah Mitchell returned to action in the final week of the regular season, adding even more possibilities to an offense that already featured Aiyuk, McCaffrey, George Kittle, Jauan Jennings and others.

Following the 49ers’ Week 18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, Purdy noted that he believes there still is a lot of room for the offense to get better. After he took over as the team's quarterback, the 49ers averaged 33.6 points per game.

“I feel like we still haven't played to our full potential, yet,” Purdy said. “And so, we look at it as a challenge. But we're also excited because it's like, man, if we do play to our full potential, what else could we do?”

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Aiyuk heads into the 49ers’ first-round playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday with 18 receptions for 241 yards over the past three games with Purdy.

“As we get more reps, we’re starting to grow with him,” Aiyuk said. “He’s doing a great job, and we’re still growing.

“We’re trying to see how far he can take it and where we can take it, too. We’re just trying to look to elevate every single week.”

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