After facing adversity for the first time in his NFL career during a rough three-game stretch, Brock Purdy has risen above the outside noise in the 49ers’ last two victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The young quarterback credits a shift in mindset for San Francisco’s resurgent performance over the last couple of weeks, reverting back to an underdog mentality in an effort to prove he can lead the team moving forward.
“I was more upset with, not even that we were complacent or anything, but almost like, we’re just going to walk into the game and it’s going to be given to us in a sense,” Purdy said after the 49ers’ 27-14 win over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium. “I had to get back to, man, we’ve got to go take it. We’ve got to go earn it every single game. It doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s the NFL. Anything can happen on any Sunday.
“And so that’s the chip [on my shoulder] that I was talking about. And so getting back to that and then proving myself every drive, every play that I can be the guy for this team and I have to earn it every single week at practice, in meetings, whatever it may be. So, that’s the mindset of what I was talking about and yeah, definitely more in tune to being detailed and stuff the last couple weeks and finding that chip again.”
Purdy certainly proved he can be “the guy” for San Francisco in its Week 11 win, joining 49ers legends Joe Montana and Steve Young as the only quarterbacks in franchise history to post a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Additionally, Purdy stands alone as the only 49ers quarterback to do so while throwing 20 or more pass attempts.
Not too shabby for a guy picked last overall by the 49ers in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Purdy’s teammate Christian McCaffrey enjoys seeing the quarterback play with a little fire under him, telling reporters in the locker room after Sunday’s win that he hopes the haters keep coming.
And even during the 49ers’ three-game losing streak in Weeks 6 through 8, where late-game interceptions plagued Purdy, coach Kyle Shanahan’s faith in the 23-year-old never wavered. Shanahan still liked what he was seeing from Purdy on the tape despite some critical mistakes — something he echoed after the signal-caller’s big game against Tampa Bay.
“You never know until people go through that, but I mean the film was so good,” Shanahan said of the potential for Purdy to become timid after throwing said picks. “The guy was playing unbelievable in those three losses, so there was nothing to really worry about. You just got to make sure he doesn’t make up stuff that other people are making up. So you just try to get him to stick with practice, stick with the film and doing what you’re doing. He had a couple bad picks in those games, but there was none that he felt he had to change what he was doing because he was playing such a high level in those losses, too.”
Now at 7-3 on the season, the 49ers face a tough three-game gauntlet with major NFL playoff implications in the weeks ahead. They’ll travel to Seattle to face the 6-4 Seahawks on Thanksgiving, then return to Lincoln Financial Field in Week 13 for an NFC Championship rematch against the conference’s No.1-seed Philadelphia Eagles before another game against Seattle at Levi’s Stadium on Dec. 10.
And Purdy, who has done more than enough to prove himself as the 49ers’ starting quarterback, will be ready — starting with Week 12 against San Francisco’s long-time rival.
“Yeah, we’re at the point of the season where obviously every single game is crucial. It’s huge,” Purdy said. “And going into a hostile environment in Seattle with the great team that they have, it’s going to be a great challenge for us and we’re excited about it. Obviously, the history goes back with these two organizations and being able to play on Thanksgiving against them with the division where it’s at, doesn’t get any better than that.
“I’m excited for it.”