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Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Rice on 49ers QB Brock Purdy: “You could tell he was in complete control”

Dec 5, 2022 at 1:12 PM--

Brock Purdy, the last overall pick in this year's draft, was anything but irrelevant during Sunday's 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. The rookie quarterback stepped in for Jimmy Garoppolo, who went down early with a season-ending foot injury.

The game and the situation weren't too big for Purdy. The rookie passer was cool under pressure, doing just enough to ensure his Niners emerged with their fifth consecutive victory.

"Mr. Irrelevant, man, I'm looking at this guy, very poised," NFL legend Jerry Rice said Monday morning on 95.7 The Game. "You could tell he was in complete control. And the players, they actually had confidence in him, so he did a fantastic job."

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Purdy finished the game 25-of-37 for 210 passing yards, two touchdowns, an interception, and a passer rating of 88.8. It was the first extended action of his young NFL career, but you would not have noticed if you didn't know that.

"He did what he had to do to get that win," Rice added.

Purdy, entering the season as the No. 3 quarterback before serving as Garoppolo's backup after Trey Lance went down in Week 2, got very few practice reps heading into Sunday's game. That's typical for a backup quarterback. However, that will change this week. Purdy is the starter moving forward.

Due to the limited practice reps, Purdy would often go to quarterbacks coaches Brian Griese and Klay Kubiak to review the plays run in practice, mentally walking himself through each one.

"It's every single week, I act like I'm the starter," Purdy told reporters after the game. "I've got to prepare like I'm the starter. And you know, my name was called."

After hearing his name called, Purdy and the 49ers offense attacked the Dolphins, giving head coach Kyle Shanahan his first win over his former protégé, Mike McDaniel.

"He has the composure," Rice said of Purdy. "He has the confidence. I felt like the Niners, they didn't miss a beat."

How far can the 49ers go with Purdy at the helm of Shanahan's offense? That's the real question now. The team had Super Bowl aspirations thanks to its top-ranked defense playing lights-out football and a veteran quarterback in Garoppolo, who was turning in a solid season.

Everyone on the team will need to step up as the NFC West-leading 49ers head down the stretch.

"It's going to be up to those guys to elevate their game just a little bit more, make things a little easier for Brock," Rice explained. "Get open, so he doesn't have to hold onto the football. And we've still got to continue running the ball, and we've got to rely on that defense to win championships for us. That's really what it's all about. If that defense is buzzing and just causing havoc, I feel like we've got a legitimate chance of doing something special this year."

Is a Super Bowl out of the picture, though? Is the team talented enough to achieve its ultimate goal with a rookie quarterback under center?

"We're going to find out," Rice responded. "I'm telling you, we had the motto, back in the day, 'Next guy up.' Rally around that guy. Simplify the game for that guy. That's going to be up to those receivers to beat one-on-one coverage, get open, so he doesn't have to hold onto the ball. Rally around him.

"I think, just watching him, his composure yesterday, I think he can, but it's going to take a big effort from the defense and all his teammates to just rally around him, simplify the game, and just make it easier for him."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Rice below.


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