clearn.png
Sunday February 5th, 2023 10:56PM

Purdy goes from 'Mr. Irrelevant' to brink of Super Bowl

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy's NFL career started with the moniker of “Mr. Irrelevant” and the weeklong trip to Newport Beach to celebrate the player picked last in the draft.

With one more win, Purdy's rookie season in the NFL will end on the brightest stage of all as a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl for the San Francisco 49ers.

It's been an improbable nine-month journey from the trip to Disneyland, golf tournament, and a roast where he received the Lowsman Trophy as the last draft pick to the NFC title game on Sunday when the 49ers (15-4) visit the Philadelphia Eagles (15-3).

“Going to the NFC championship, it means a lot to us and for myself,” Purdy said. "When I take a step back, it’s pretty cool. Very thankful.”

Purdy is set for perhaps his toughest test yet on Sunday, when he faces an Eagles defense that led the NFL with 70 sacks and must deal with an imposing road environment.

Purdy handled the crowd noise well in his first road start at Seattle last month, with coach Kyle Shanahan telling him at the time it was important to deal with that before the postseason.

“He did say it was good preparation for what we might have to play in terms of the playoffs, going on the road for road games and obviously Philadelphia,” Purdy said. “In these kind of games, it’s all about communication. How can you operate smoothly, get in and out of the huddle, get the play off the right way, make sure everyone is on the same page. So that's definitely a big emphasis this week.”

Purdy has aced every test he's faced so far and has already become perhaps one of the most productive “Mr. Irrelevant” since the title was first handed out in 1976.

He is the third rookie quarterback ever to win two playoff starts, the fifth to reach the conference title game as a starter and will look to be the first to reach the Super Bowl.

Pretty impressive for the ninth QB taken in the draft. But not a complete surprise to the supremely confident Purdy or the Niners, who saw flashes during Purdy's limited work in training camp.

San Francisco cut Nate Sudfeld in order to keep Purdy as the third QB and the team didn't lose any confidence when he was forced to take over early in Week 13 after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt.

Purdy helped the Niners win that game against Miami and has won all seven starts since then, posting an NFL-best 111.4 passer rating in that span with 16 TDs and only three interceptions.

A San Francisco offense filled with playmakers such as Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk has gotten better instead of regressing with a rookie running the show.

“We stopped looking at him as our rookie quarterback when he took over and he stopped looking at himself like that probably when he got drafted,” right tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “He’s done a great job. I can’t say enough good things about him.”

The history of rookie QBs making it this far in the postseason is not very successful with Shaun King (1999), Ben Roethlisberger (2004), Joe Flacoo (2008) and Mark Sanchez (2009) all losing in that round.

The four combined for a 51.8 passer rating in the title games with nine interceptions, four TD passes and just 196.8 yards passing per game.

But Purdy has already exceeded the performances of almost all rookie QBs in the postseason. He became the first rookie to account for four TDs in a playoff game in a wild-card win over Seattle when his 332 yards passing were the most for a rookie in his first playoff start since Sammy Baugh threw for 335 in the NFL title game in 1937 to lead Washington past Chicago.

Purdy wasn't nearly as productive last week against Dallas' tougher defense, throwing for 214 yards with no TDs. But he once again protected the ball with no turnovers, giving him consecutive playoff games with at least 200 yards and no turnovers. No other rookie has done that even once.

“He’s been unbelievable with that," Shanahan said. "I think that’s the number one thing he’s done and to be able to be as good with the ball as he has while still making a number of the plays that he has that’s definitely the thing I’ve been most impressed with.”

Purdy has pulled off many impressive feats since taking over with his ability to extend plays adding a new element to a dynamic San Francisco offense.

That has helped the Niners score an NFL-best 32.6 points per game since he stepped in after the first drive against the Dolphins.

“I’m not shocked anymore,” McCaffrey said. “It’s just who he is now.”

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2023 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Conference title games are most evenly matched in 25 years
It’s been 25 years since both NFL conference championship games were this evenly matched from an oddsmakers standpoint
5:46PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Storm system dumps heavy, wet snow on Indiana and Michigan
Heavy, wet snow — part of a storm system that spawned tornadoes in the Houston area — has covered roads, vehicles, houses and buildings from central and northern Indiana into much of southeastern Michigan
5:29PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Tesla says its 4Q profit rose 59%, expects strong margins
Tesla has posted record net income for the fourth quarter of last year, and the company predicted that additional software-related profits will keep its margins higher than any other automaker
5:28PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Hurts puts MVP talk behind him, focuses on NFC title game
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts is humbled by being a finalist for the NFL Most Valuable Player Award
4:07PM ( 1 hour ago )
New York's AG says MSG lawyer ban may violate anti-bias laws
New York’s attorney general has warned Madison Square Garden that it may be violating anti-bias laws with its practice of barring lawyers from firms involved in litigation against MSG from its venues including Radio City Music Hall and the Garden itself
3:53PM ( 2 hours ago )
World track body proposal: No ban on transgender athletes
Track and field’s governing body is facing renewed criticism from some for a proposal to allow transgender athletes to continue competing in top female events with stricter rules
2:46PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Sports
Mahomes the old man among 4 championship game QBs
Patrick Mahomes will be the old man among the starting quarterbacks in the conference title games
6:00AM ( 11 hours ago )
Police report details what led to Georgia player's arrest
Police say Georgia football transfer Rodarius “Rara” Thomas was arrested for blocking the door to a campus dorm room and causing injuries to a 17-year-old girl during an argument
7:51PM ( 22 hours ago )
Tennessee gives Josh Heupel big pay raise to $9 million
Tennessee has given coach Josh Heupel a big raise that puts him among the highest-paid coaches in college football
3:28PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Football
Prescott, Cowboys stuck in divisional-round rut another year
Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys still can't get out of their divisional-round rut
12:55PM ( 2 days ago )
Buffalo’s Pegula eyes 1st Slam semifinal at Australian Open
Jessica Pegula is headed to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament for the fifth time
2:15AM ( 2 days ago )
Cowboys kicker misses 5th playoff PAT, makes 2 FGs
Dallas kicker Brett Maher missed his fifth extra point of the postseason when his first attempt against San Francisco was blocked before making two field-goal tries
12:09AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Sports - NFL
Conference title games are most evenly matched in 25 years
It’s been 25 years since both NFL conference championship games were this evenly matched from an oddsmakers standpoint
5:46PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Storm system dumps heavy, wet snow on Indiana and Michigan
Heavy, wet snow — part of a storm system that spawned tornadoes in the Houston area — has covered roads, vehicles, houses and buildings from central and northern Indiana into much of southeastern Michigan
5:29PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Tesla says its 4Q profit rose 59%, expects strong margins
Tesla has posted record net income for the fourth quarter of last year, and the company predicted that additional software-related profits will keep its margins higher than any other automaker
5:28PM ( 25 minutes ago )
CSX railroad profit up 9% on higher fuel surcharges, rates
CSX railroad says it hauled in 9% more fourth-quarter profit even though it carried less cargo because it received more money for fuel surcharges and higher shipping rates
5:27PM ( 26 minutes ago )
Donald Trump is reinstated to Facebook after 2-year ban
Facebook parent Meta is reinstating former President Donald Trump’s personal account after two-year suspension following the Jan. 6 insurrection
5:27PM ( 27 minutes ago )