Brock Purdy

Purdy embracing ‘clean slate' in NFC title game vs. Lions

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SANTA CLARA — Brock Purdy had a forgettable NFC divisional-round performances until he starred in one of the great come-from-behind victories in 49ers playoff history.

There is a lot to take from Purdy’s down-and-up performance in the 49ers’ 24-21 victory over the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round of the NFC postseason Saturday at Levi's Stadium.

But, ultimately, Purdy — at 24 and mature far behind his years — knows there is nothing that automatically carries over to the next game.

And the next contest, of course, is the NFC Championship Game against the Detroit Lions at 3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

The first step in using his game against the Packers as a learning tool, he said, was to be real with himself.

“You understand where you’re at as a quarterback, how you played," Purdy said on Wednesday. "And it doesn’t matter if you played good or bad, you can’t take any of that with you the next week.”

Purdy completed 23 of 39 pass attempts on Saturday night in a steady rain for 252 yards with one touchdown. He did not commit any giveaways, but he also got fortunate when Packers safety Darnell Savage dropped a would-be interception on the first drive of the game.

Purdy made amends for his rough game through 3 1/2 quarters with his precision and playmaking on the team’s game-winning drive.

Now, he prepares for a new challenge against a Detroit defense that likes to mix things up and keep opposing quarterbacks off-balance.

“It’s a new game. It’s a new scheme. It’s a new environment. Everything,” Purdy said. “Everything about it is new, so it’s almost like you have a clean slate. You learn from mistakes, build off the good things that you've done. But it’s a new game.”

A year ago, Purdy took over as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in early December, and everything happened so quickly at the end of his rookie season.

The 49ers already were playing good football with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback, and Purdy helped raise the play of the San Francisco's offense.

The 49ers won playoff games against the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys with Purdy at quarterback to advance to the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles. San Francisco was one win away from a trip to the Super Bowl, but they played most of the game realizing they had no chance.

Purdy sustained a severe elbow injury early in the game. Then, backup quarterback Josh Johnson was forced out of the game due to a concussion.

When Purdy re-entered in the third quarter, he did so without being able to throw the ball.

“For me, obviously, I got hurt last year. It sucked,” Purdy said. “That was part of the game. Going into this game healthy; I feel good.

“I think for all of us, we’re hungry and want to get to the next game. So we got to handle business and take it one play at a time.”

Immediately after the 49ers' NFC title game loss to the Eagles, there was only one goal for this season and there was little question that Purdy would be the starter when he got cleared to play after offseason elbow surgery.

Purdy took part in training camp, started Week 1 in Pittsburgh and played at an NFL MVP level through most of the regular season.

After a 12-5 regular season and earning the top seed in the NFC playoffs, the 49ers squeaked past the Packers and now face the Lions with a trip to Super Bowl LVIII on the line.

Unlike last season, this time it has been a slow build for the 49ers and Purdy to return to the NFL’s final four.

“It does feel a little different because you went through so many highs and lows this year,” Purdy said. “And now to get to where we are, it feels pretty good. But at the same time, this has been this organization’s and team’s mindset long before I ever got here in what they’ve been building here in terms of doing what it takes to get to a championship.

“I’m another key part of it, and I’m just doing my job as best I can week-in and week-out, and here we are.”

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