SANTA CLARA — There are a lot of subplots for 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy when he makes his return to the place he sustained a significant elbow injury in the NFC Championship Game.
But Purdy is remaining focused on the only thing that matters, he said Thursday.
And that is putting himself in position to play winning football on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, owners of the NFL’s best record at 10-1.
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“We’re going on the road in a hostile environment,” Purdy said. “We’re late in the season, so every game is obviously big for us. So that’s where I’m at with my mindset.
“I’m not going to go back and feel a certain way. None of that. It’s a new year. Two new teams, slightly different in ways. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Purdy was fresh on the scene last season, rising up the depth chart after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.
San Francisco 49ers
He was the starting quarterback in the 49ers’ playoff victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys to land a spot in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers visited Philadelphia with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.
On the 49ers’ sixth offensive play, Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick beat the block of tight end Tyler Kroft around the corner and hit Purdy’s right arm as he was throwing. Purdy sustained a torn ulnar collateral ligament on the play.
Backup quarterback Josh Johnson replaced Purdy, but he was knocked out of the game early in the third quarter due to a concussion. Purdy returned to action, unable to throw the football. The 49ers could muster no offense, and lost 31-7.
Purdy ended up undergoing surgery to repair the ligament and, remarkably, made it back for the start of training camp in late July.
Purdy said he is not going to take any time on Sunday to reflect on the events of the past 10 months.
“Am I going to go there and get all sentimental about, 'Man, I’ve come a long way?' ” Purdy said. “It’s not really like that.
“Am I going to go into the game saying I want revenge and all that stuff? It’s not like that. I’m just going to try to do my job and be the best Brock that I can be for this team.”
Purdy has played as well as any quarterback in the NFL this season. He leads the league in completion percentage (70.2%), passer rating (112.3) and yards per pass attempt (9.4).
The 49ers are 8-3, lead the NFC West by two games and remain in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
Purdy said he believes he has made huge strides from a year ago, when the 49ers went to Philadelphia in the postseason.
“I think I’ve grown mentally with this playbook, with this system and with the guys I’m playing with, in terms of them knowing what they’re going to get from me,” Purdy said. “I feel like at the time, I was still trying to find my way in the NFL and play consistent and prove to the guys I can play.
“Now, it’s all about how can I be consistent every single drive, every game, and being able to handle all the factors that come with playing quarterback — the noises, keeping guys calm, cool and collected — all that stuff. I feel like at that time, I don’t know if I was that guy, yet.”
Purdy must be up to the challenge on Sunday for the 49ers to hang with the Eagles.
“It’s going to be a tough place to play,” Purdy said. “They’re a really good team. They’ve found ways to win this year. I think they’re really good.”
Purdy said he tries not to get caught up in looking back or looking ahead. He believes his approach of taking it one day, one game, at a time is cliché but effective.
“This is our next challenge: Week 13 in Philadelphia,” he said.