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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) looks to pass during an NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers on October 23, 2023, at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN.(Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire)
November 11th, 2023
"Mr. Irrelevant" of the 2022 NFL Draft, Brock Purdy, was anything but during his rookie campaign for the San Francisco 49ers.
Shoved into the spotlight after Jimmy Garoppolo and 2021 No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance went down with injuries midseason, Purdy was named the starter in Week 14 and faced, of all quarterbacks, Tom Brady in his first carer start. Purdy rose to the occasion and earned a victory, then proceeded to win all five regular-season games he started in 2022 before his season ended in the conference championship round.
In 2023, he got off to a fast start, winning his first five games as well, but injuries to the offense caused a snag in his play, and the Niners dropped three straight ahead of their bye week.
Whether Purdy will pan out long term is yet to be seen, but for now he's more relevant than ever as the leader of one of the top teams in the NFC.
Let's look back over the start of Purdy's young career and examine his regular-season and postseason records against every team.
Through Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season, Purdy has faced division rival Arizona just once in his career. In a 35-16 victory in Week 4 of the 2023 season, he completed all but one of his 21 passes (95.2% completion rate), which set a 49ers franchise record for highest single-game completion percentage. Steve Young had previously owned the record with a 90% rate in Week 8 of the 1991 season.
Purdy first confronted the Dallas Cowboys in the 2022 postseason, when San Francisco and Dallas clashed in the Divisional Round. In a 19-12 win, Purdy became just the third QB since 1970 to win two playoff games as a rookie. He went 19-of-29 passing for 214 yards and is the only rookie quarterback since 1970 to pass for more than 200 yards in back-to-back postseason games.
In 2023, Purdy got a rematch with Dallas in Week 5 and handed the Cowboys an embarrassing 42-10 defeat. The second-year signal caller completed 17 of 24 passes for 252 yards and threw for four touchdowns. With the blowout victory, he also became the fourth quarterback behind Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady to lead a team that scored 30 points or more in eight straight regular-season games.
Purdy reached the NFC Championship Game as a rookie and faced-off with third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts. In the first quarter, Purdy exited the game with an elbow injury and was replaced by backup Josh Johnson, but Purdy re-entered the game in the third quarter after Johnson suffered a concussion. Playing through a complete tear of his ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), Purdy finished with 23 yards on just four passes as the Niners fell 31-7.
Purdy recovered from his elbow injury in time to start Week 1 of the 2023 season. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, he connected on 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards and recorded a pair of touchdowns to Brandon Aiyuk. With the 30-7 victory, Purdy became the first NFL QB to win his first six regular-season starts while throwing two touchdown passes in each of those contests.
Purdy first met division foe Seattle in his second career start in 2022. The then-rookie threw for 217 yards and two scores in the 21-13 win and joined Aaron Rodgers as the only other quarterback to earn a cumulative quarterback rating of 115 or higher in his first two starts.
He finished the regular season with 1,374 yards and 13 touchdown passes to four interceptions. His 119.4 passer rating through his first five starts is the highest for a quarterback since Kurt Warner in 1999. In 2023, he also made history with a 121.1 passer rating through his first 10 career starts, the highest passer rating by any QB in history through their first 10 starts.
Purdy again met Seattle in the Wild Card round of the 2022 postseason and sent the Seahawks home with a 41-23 loss while recording four total touchdowns, the most by a rookie quarterback in a playoff game. He also became the lowest-drafted QB to start and win a playoff game.
The seventh-round draft pick got his first career start against the most famous sixth-rounder in NFL history — seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. The rookie got the best of the G.O.A.T. that day, as Purdy went 16-of-21 for 185 yards and two passing scores in a 35-7 victory over Tampa Bay. The win made him the only quarterback in his first career start to beat a team led by Brady.
The game prior, Purdy relieved Jimmy Garoppolo after he suffered a foot injury in the first quarter of a 33-17 win over Miami. Purdy completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. He was the first "Mr. Irrelevant" to throw a touchdown pass in a regular-season game.
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