SANTA CLARA — The last time Brock Purdy faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was his NFL debut last season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers.
It was a full-circle moment Sunday afternoon as Purdy again led his team to a 27-14 win over the Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.
Purdy’s nerves were more heightened back in that Week 14 matchup during the 2022 NFL season, but the pressure he puts on himself to play a better game is higher in 2023. Even after completing 21 of his 25 attempts for 333 yards, three touchdowns and a perfect passer rating Sunday, there’s more work to be done.
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“There are still some plays that I wish I had back,” Purdy said after the game. “Not completely content with that, but it was a great game with the guys around me, the coaching and the play-calling. All of it.”
Purdy’s efficiency in the passing game included completing five of his six attempts to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk for 156 yards and a career-long 76-yard touchdown play. Purdy’s previous career-long completion was a 74-yard touchdown pass to Deebo Samuel in the wild-card round of the 2022 NFL playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks.
Aiyuk’s previous career best was a 54-yard reception from Brock Purdy in Week 16 of the 2022 season during a win over the Washington Commanders. And after Sunday's win, the wideout believes not much has changed for his quarterback since that first start against Tampa Bay last year.
“I’ve always got the same feeling from him, the same energy from him,” Aiyuk said. “Not as a player anyways.”
San Francisco 49ers
Christian McCaffrey also played a large role on the offense with 21 carries for 78 yards while also catching all five of his targets for 25 yards and a touchdown. The All-Pro running back believes nothing shakes his quarterback.
“He was awesome, just like he is every game,” McCaffrey said. “Poised, calm, collected and competitive, and made some amazing plays. He’s always been the same guy. A competitor, a great leader and a heck of a ball player.”
McCaffrey and his quarterback are two peas in a pod striving for perfection. On a fourth-and-short situation late in the game, McCaffrey was unable to help his team convert and was seen on the sidelines visibly upset after failing to get the yardage.
That need for perfection might be why McCaffrey was so moved when he was told about Purdy’s perfect rating.
“Dang, he had a perfect passer rating?” McCaffrey said. “That’s incredible. He’s a baller. That’s a good defense too. It doesn’t shock me, but it’s impressive. I’m happy for him.”
The 49ers face a tough three-game series next, starting with their Thanksgiving matchup against their NFC West-rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. But for just a little while, Purdy will enjoy this win.