Brock Purdy

Purdy reflects on NFL journey since first 49ers start vs. Buccaneers

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SANTA CLARA — After 17 starts as the quarterback for the 49ers, Brock Purdy looked back at his 2022 Week 12 debut against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

“Last year going into that game, everyone’s eyes were on me,” Purdy said Thursday. “I feel like the guys in the locker room [were saying], ‘How’s this rookie going to handle it?’ It’s one thing to get thrown into a game and not all the pressure. But now you got a week to prepare, and it’s, ‘Alright, let’s see what you can do with it.’ ”

The locker room quickly discovered that Purdy could do a lot. The rookie led them on an eight-game winning streak that carried them to the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia where he suffered a tear to his ulnar collateral ligament. 

The young quarterback has continued with his winning ways this season after recovering from his injury. Purdy’s 109.9 passer rating leads the league as does his 9.62 yards gained per attempt and 13.5 yards gained per pass completion.

“I feel like there definitely were some expectations and pressures that I felt just naturally,” Purdy said. “But you know, compared to now, I put that pressure and expectation on myself in terms of, I have to play at the standard now.

“I’m trying to get better every single week. But last year going into this game was definitely on another level.”

The 49ers' locker room and coaching staff know what they have in Purdy. Their confidence level is so high that the five interceptions he committed over the club’s three consecutive losses did not cause their belief in his abilities to waiver.

Purdy and the 49ers' offense got back on track in Week 10 with the quarterback completing 19 of his 26 attempts for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. The silver lining of the club’s three losses might be the feeling that Purdy and the team had that their backs were once again against the wall.

If they didn’t turn things around quickly, their playoff hopes could have been in jeopardy.

“The three games where we lost, it’s like sort of reminding myself, ‘Dude, you got to play with that chip on your shoulder again,’ and be hungry and that every single game you got to prove to yourself that you’re supposed to be there.”

As the No. 262 pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, Purdy consistently has felt the need to prove that he deserves his role as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Even now, after his 2022 performance, the Iowa State product knows there is much more to learn and improve upon.

Coach Kyle Shanahan has been impressed by how his young quarterback evaluates his play and appreciates Purdy’s honest evaluation.

“Brock sees football pretty well,” Shanahan said. "No one’s going to be perfect. It’s really easy when you’re watching it from afar. You’ve got to react and play football in the pocket or outside the pocket. He knows when he makes a bad decision and that’s why he’s fun to talk to about it, fun to coach.”

Purdy’s goal is to continue to improve but he still looks back at his first start with fondness and appreciation for what he accomplished, not only in that win, but throughout his 17 games as a starter. 

“The operation, how I run the offense, those are all areas I feel like I’ve grown and can continue to be better at,” Purdy said. “But the spark, the energy, the chip on the shoulder that I played with in that game, I feel like is sort of the same, like still trying to prove to myself that I belong in this league and on this team.”

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