If it wasn’t already clear, the 49ers’ championship aspirations are in good hands with rookie quarterback Brock Purdy.
With the rainy weather and mounting pressure in Purdy’s first career playoff game, those waiting for the No. 262 overall pick to finally falter are being left behind. The QB saved his best statistical game for his most important test yet, overcoming a shaky start to pass 18 of 30 for 332 yards and three touchdowns, plus another rushing score in San’s 41-23 win. Francisco on the joker. Seahawks Saturday.
“As a rookie, you can’t talk enough about how he came in and played,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche after the game. “I’ve never seen him in my whole life. I don’t know if anyone has played like that. At the end of the season, that’s who people should be talking about. Forget everything else. It’s the guy right now. We just have to take it one at a time like we always do and play team football.”
Purdy, who was thrust into QB1 duties in Week 13 after Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot and finished the regular season with 1,374 passing yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions, was ultimately nervous at the during the first half on Saturday.
He badly missed three of his first four attempts, which included an airborne pass to nobody to start San Francisco’s first offensive series and a badly knocked down ball to an open Jauan Jennings in the end zone. His unusual inaccuracy stalled the reader and led to a field goal rather than a TD.
Taking long runs for just three runs, mostly due to Purdy’s placement on the shots, has become a common refrain in a 16-point first half for the Niners that saw three of five possessions end in a field goal.
The 49ers struggled to separate and entered the half trailing, 17-16.
When they received the ball to open the second half, the Purdys who had thrown multiple touchdowns in six straight games showed up to rewrite the narrative and reclaim the lead.
“He’s the reason we have a chance of succeeding,” Warner said. “The way he came in. The balance, the confidence, his performance week after week is unbelievable. We needed him to play big in the second half. That’s where it counts. It’s going to be tough everything long, but (it’s) how are you going to perform in tough times?”
Purdy had a 13-play, 75-yard drive with a healthy mix of throws, Christian McCaffrey running and guarding it himself – which he did while sneaking in to cap the drive from the 1-yard line .
The score started an unanswered 25-point streak to put a once tight game out of reach. The onslaught was aided by two forced turnovers from the defense and a monster 74-yard TD by Deebo Samuel that included 66 yards after the catch.