How Purdy maintained level head in 49ers' wild win over Raiders


LAS VEGAS — The 49ers' 37-34 overtime win over the Raiders on Sunday was a roller-coaster of emotions, but Brock Purdy appeared incredibly calm even with the pressure on his shoulders.

Afterward, San Francisco's rookie quarterback shared why it's important for him to keep his composure throughout the highs and lows of a game. Even when Purdy’s third-quarter pass intended for George Kittle was intercepted, he calmly returned to the 49ers' Allegiant Stadium bench, and then bounced back later in the game.

“I’m pretty hard on myself mentally,” Purdy told reporters. “The pick to George or a missed read. I always tell myself mentally, ‘Man, you got to be better, you can be better, you’ve shown that you can.' I don’t like to show that to my teammates or anyone like that.

“I just got to ride the highs and ride the lows and stay in the middle. Keep things simple like that.”

As far as his 49ers teammates can tell, Purdy is a cool customer. Even when the heat is on him to take San Francisco's offense down the field to score and put the team in the position to win, the rookie remained calm. The 23-year-old finished the game 22-of-35 passing for 284 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.

Maybe the most impressive part of Purdy’s performance was how unfazed he appeared while playing from behind. San Francisco trailed late in a game for the first time since Purdy took over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.

"Yeah, I think that was great for him," 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said when asked if Purdy fighting through adversity was a development point. "I mean, he had to -- we had to come from behind, especially there at the end. Also, he made a ton of plays today, but there's a number that he missed, too. And that's the coolest part. There were some he'd love to have back. He was never one way too much or the other, whether he was struggling or doing well. But there were some mixed plays, and to keep coming back and keep attacking. ...

"He never got gun shy, made some real good decisions, too, and fought it out throughout the whole game and found a way to win."

The 49ers' traditionally stingy defense surrendered 34 points to the Raiders, the highest total they've given up since the Kansas City Chiefs scored 44 points against them in Week 7. In his first NFL start, Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham and Las Vegas' offense gained 500 yards and averaged 7.6 yards per play, so Purdy and Co. had to respond. 

Purdy did more than just manage the game, though. He helped engineer a comeback after being down by 10 points. The Iowa State product knows how important his demeanor is to maintaining the productivity of San Francisco's offense.

"The minute I start to go down or anything like that, and start getting flustered, I feel like, obviously, guys will feel that and feed off of that,” Purdy said. “I’ve just got to play my part, do my job, and keep things nice and calm, cool and collected. Even if someone else messes up, too.”

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Added Shanahan: "First of all, no one's ever not missed some things. And I thought Brock played great today. But I'm getting used to him, and so [I'm] kind of hard on everybody. So, there's a couple that I know he missed, and for him to miss those and to get down, not having a lead and missing some stuff, you can get tighter. Especially all the personnel and stuff, they're mixing up, the protection stuff that they did.

"But he was able for the most part to keep his head out of harm's way, and he stuck with it and made a lot more good plays than bad plays, which is the key."

Purdy’s coaches and teammates appreciate his humble personality. While the weight was on him, Purdy gave credit to the entire team.

“It was a good experience for all of us,” Purdy said. “Offense did their part, defense did their part and special teams capped it off."

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