Brock Purdy

Kittle expects playoff-tested Purdy to be ‘same person' for 49ers

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As the 49ers embark on their NFL playoff run Saturday night, tight end George Kittle believes his quarterback being battle-tested is a very good thing.

“I think any time you can have playoff experience, it’s definitely helpful,” Kittle said during the 49ers' playoff bye last week. “I remember Joe Staley and Richard Sherman told me in my first experience in 2019 [that] you’re playing football, but the intensity is different. The vibe is different, the energy is different.”

While Purdy has been the 49ers' starting QB for a little more than one full season, his 2022 playoff experience gives Kittle and his teammates even more confidence on the field. Purdy might not be the most seasoned in San Francisco's locker room, but he has shown up ready to roll in the biggest of games.

“I expect him to be the same person,” Kittle said. “Got to be consistent, dialed in. I’m never really worried about Purdy. Even when he threw multiple interceptions in a game, I’m not worried. He’s going to bounce back, and he’s going to play at a super-high level like he always does.”

Purdy set multiple 49ers records and led the NFL in several passing categories in the 16 regular-season contests he played in 2023, but his playoff statistics from last season might even be more impressive. At least they were until that fateful play in the 49ers’ NFC Championship Game loss when Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Hasson Reddick hit Purdy and tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing arm.

Purdy, in his playoff debut, completed 18 of 30 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a score in the 49ers' 41-23 wild-card win over the NFC West rival Seattle Seahawks. The next week, Purdy was 19-of-29 passing for 214 yards in a 19-12 divisional-round win over the Dallas Cowboys. 

Everything is heightened in the playoffs, but Kittle knows his QB will be ready, physically and mentally.

“There’s a lot more intensity, a lot more anger,” Kittle said. “There’s a lot more 'do or die' on every single play. There's 100 percent effort, but you’re still playing football. You don’t need to do crazy things and try making something up on the field.”

So, when the 49ers host the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium this weekend, Kittle expects Purdy to be calm, cool, collected and, as always, ready for the spotlight.

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