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Brock Purdy, Steve Wilks, Chris Foerster preview 49ers-Cardinals Week 4 matchup

Sep 28, 2023 at 6:14 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, and offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster spoke with reporters after Thursday's practice, as the team prepares for its Week 4 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. Here is everything they had to say.

Transcripts provided by the San Francisco 49ers Communications staff.

QB Brock Purdy

Do you have to do extra rehab with the arm and stuff?

"I would say no. It's just, like I said before, just like some pre-practice throwing stuff and post throwing stuff. All things that I've done in the past as a quarterback."

Last week the Giants blitzed you about 85% of the time and you threw for 300 yards. This week, you get a team that doesn't on paper blitz as much. How would you describe the differences and the different challenges?

"Last week it was almost like every single play we had to have an answer for some kind of blitz or all out. This week it's a little different. They do show some pressures in certain scenarios. But for us, man, it's like, 'All right, here's what they do defensively and we've got to attack that.' It is different than all the pressures and whatnot from last week, but still it's going to be a solid defense. What they do, they do it well. They're consistent in what they do and they're very well coached, so it's a new challenge. But still, there's some things that are similar in terms of like we've just got to be ready for some things just in case."

How much similarities do you see from what you studied for Philly versus what you're seeing now with Arizona?

"Obviously the same play caller and scheme, but obviously the personnel is different, so just the way they call plays can be a little bit different than Philly. But, there are some similar things for sure within the scheme that we had game planned for last year in the playoffs and whatnot, but at the same time, man, it's like they've got different players and just their style is a little bit different compared to Philly."

Did you own any Cardinals gear growing up?

"I didn't. I was a Dolphins fan and then I won the High School Player of the Year by the Cardinals. So, I got a Cardinals Purdy jersey, actually, the one that I took a picture with [Pittsburgh Steelers CB] Patrick Peterson in, so that was it."

Why the Dolphins?

"My dad's from Florida, born and raised a Dolphin fan. It was like a generational thing. So then we were."

You got a chance to FaceTime with former Miami Dolphins QB Dan Marino. How exciting is that?

"Yeah, it was sweet. It was special. [TNF NFL analyst Ryan] Fitzpatrick pulled out the iPad, FaceTimed Dan Marino. I was like, 'What?' But basically I told him like, 'Hey, I wear 13 because of you and my dad obviously loved watching you play.' So it was a special moment for sure. He's a legend."

I know it's all about wins, you just want to win the game, but are there any specific stats or general stats that you and head coach Kyle Shanahan and quarterback coach Brian Griese maybe look at yards per pass, yard per play? Anything that you guys kind of focus on that this is a kind of the barometer what we want to do?

"As a team really it's all about the ball. So obviously the turnover battle's huge for us. We've got a good defense, we've got a great offense, and it's like how can we eliminate the errors and be smart with the ball, even if that means punting and letting our defense do their thing. I feel like all the games that we've played in so far, like it's come down to turnovers. How can we create momentum and not waste time by giving the other team the ball freely and allowing them to have good field position or momentum and put up points. I feel like the NFL games can go either way based off of giving the ball up or not. So that's something that we pride ourselves on here a lot, is just trying to win the turnover battle every single game. All the other stuff, the yards per pass or rush, like all that stuff, we just try to game plan and get first sounds and score and all that stuff just sort of comes along with it."

Could you say maybe some of the passes that kind of look like they're offline are kind of caused by you mostly avoiding the interception, you seeing the defensive back, so I'm not throwing it that way, even if it's not exactly online where the receiver is?

"Yeah, I feel like there's some of that obviously like being smart with the ball if it's not the look that we're looking for, don't force it, those kinds of things. In the middle of a play if it looks good at first, but you could tell like the defender's playing it well, same thing, it's like, 'All right, how can I adjust and move on?' There's obviously times where I try to give my guys a shot and it might be a little dicey, but they do a good job with making a play on it, breaking it up or going up and getting it. So that's just where we're at and got to continue to play smart."

Including playoff games, you've thrown 190-straight passes without an interception. I don't know if you knew the specifics of that, but probably knew it had been a while. Given what you've just been saying, is that a particular point of pride for you?

"Yeah, I want to help my team win at the end of the day and that comes down to the decisions that I make. I get the ball every single play whether I'm handing it off or throwing it, but anytime I'm dropping back and I have to make a decision with the ball in my hands, of course I pride myself on not harming our team. And so, that just comes down to trying to be selfless, making the right decisions, being prepared for situations and scenarios and obviously giving our guys on offense a shot to catch the ball and obviously run to put up points. And then being smart for our defense, not putting them in a bad situation with anything like that, making the wrong decision. So yeah, for me I'm definitely, it's on my mind every single play, every snap, being smart with the ball. I want to win."

Do you think your ability to throw with anticipation has been key to avoiding those interceptions? You've done a lot of plays where you might be a little bit behind the receiver, but the ball's out so early. Does it matter?

"Yeah, I feel like that's huge. Anticipation in this game and our scheme, being on time with guys, throwing before their breaks, before a DB can catch up. Coach always says the man travels faster than the ball here. So it's like the NFL man, everyone's got great speed and elite athleticism, so I got to, obviously anticipate certain throws and everything like that. So I mean we're in the NFL, everyone's really good. So anticipation I feel like is huge."

How valuable was Brian Griese to you after that first series? I think you were three of eight on that series. Seems like things were a little bit off. Is that where he really sort of is valuable to you in those instances?

"Yeah, he does a good job just with feeling out how we're doing, how we're seeing the game, how the environment is, what the other team is doing. He just sort of brings us back to reality of, 'Hey, this is what's going on, this is what I'm seeing. If this is what you're thinking, let's get back to this.' So he did a good job last game. First drive, there was some good and some bad. I was a little off trying to get into a rhythm. So he did a good job of just like sort of bringing me back into, 'Hey, this is our game plan, trust it, and we've got to be seeing certain things.' And so he does a great job of bringing us sort of back down to earth and allowing us to play where we need to play. So he does a good job with that."

You had a couple of fumbled center exchanges the last couple games. What's going on there and how do you get that kind of corrected?

"Yeah, I mean, it's as simple as [C] Jake [Brendel] and I not being on the same page, not communicating well in the huddle with when we're snapping the ball. That's just all it has been those two plays that we've had in the last two games. But, that's something that I need to do a better job with communicating and making sure we're on the same page. Both of those times we just weren't. So that's all it is."

WR Deebo Samuel and WR Jauan Jennings are both battling injuries. I know it's next man up, but those are two guys you count on so much, how does that change things?

"Yeah, obviously those guys bring so much juice and fire to our team. We have guys behind them that are ready to stand up and are ready for their opportunity. So, for me it's like obviously those are great ball players and I love them, but also trusting the guys that are next up. And so, we have a great scheme. Everyone does their job and if we have a couple guys down, the next guys that come up fill the void and do a great job as well. So for me, it's not anything to panic about or whatnot. Obviously, I want my guys to be healthy and out there. I love playing with them, but we'll be ready to go with whoever's out there."

RB Christian McCaffrey has scored in 12 straight games, so I'm kind of curious, when you're on the field with him, do you sense that hunger to get in the end zone? Is there any relief after each touchdown he scores?

"Yeah, I mean obviously the way Christian prepares and what he does at practice, you just see the drive and the hunger that he has and love for this game. So, I mean, when we go out onto the field for the games, we know we're going to get his best. And so, as a quarterback, it feels good to know Christian's going to give the O-Line, myself, this team, everything he's got every single run. If you watch the film, there's stuff where it could be like a two, three yard gain, but Christian keeps his motor going and he'll get an eight yard gain and nine yard, 10 yards. So, he's a huge difference maker. We can always rely on Christian to bring some juice and energy and we feed off it."

How does that filter down throughout the entire offense?

"Yeah, it's huge. When you see a guy on film bringing it, whether he is catching the ball, running the ball, he's doing everything and not going down after the first hit, for us on the offense, it's like, okay, if Christian's willing to do it like a playmaker who's not just all about the stats and he's doing the dirty work, for us to be able to see that we're like okay, we want to get behind this guy and feed off it and do what he's doing. So, he sort of sets the standard and we all love following him and playing alongside Christian. He's special."

Whether it's during the week or even during the course of the game, are you at the point now where you can tell Kyle 'Hey, this is going to work, this is what I think, I think we should do this because this will work,' or are you still, like, 'alright you know this offense better than anybody else, I'm listening?'

"He's been in it so long, I feel like I'm still learning. He'll obviously tell us what he's thinking and it's his gameplan and stuff and it works. He is very successful and I love it. I love playing in the system. So for me it's like, all right, I'm absorbing as much as I can with every game, every rep. But, he asks me, he is always open like, 'Hey, what do you feel good about this or do you not? If not, we won't run it.' And so, he does a good job with asking the quarterbacks and myself what we like and what we don't like. So, I appreciate that. But more than anything, he's really good at what he does. So obviously, I love listening and learning from him."

Do you learn more of the why from Kyle?

"So much. Since I've been here, just football IQ in general, obviously the x's and o's in his system's great, but just situational football, how he thinks. What to do in certain situations and scenarios, I never really would've thought of until I got here. I'm like, wow, certain two-minute drive situations or to start the game off, every little thing matters and it's all calculated. So, I definitely learned from him and will continue to learn from him."

I was talking to QB Brandon Allen before, he claims he's the best golfer on the team and I asked if he was going to drag you out there. And he said, I'd take his money, but he doesn't play golf. How does a quarterback from Arizona not play golf?

"Well, my dad grew up in Florida, so he is a big fisherman, so I'd be out on the golf courses, but I was always fishing the ponds on the golf courses. So, that's my excuse. But yeah, after my arm will heal up after this whole year and stuff, I wasn't able to golf this offseason, but I'll get good enough to take his money."

Is your dad still a Miami Dolphins fan?

"Nah, he's a 49ers fan. He is wherever I'm at. Wherever I'm at now is where he is at."

Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks

Opening comments:

"Good afternoon, hope everyone is doing well. When you look at Arizona, good football team, very good football team. After watching the tape, impressed with every facet of their offense when it comes to running the football. They do it well. A lot of respect for [Arizona Cardinals RB] James Conner, respected him when he was with the Steelers, and he's still running the ball hard. [Arizona Cardinals QB Joshua] Dobbs when you look at his play, hasn't turned the ball over. Does a great job protecting the ball. Can put it in the right spot. They have two great receivers in [Arizona Cardinals WR] Hollywood [Brown] and [Arizona Cardinals WR] Rondale [Moore] that can take the top off and do a great job getting on the perimeter with the jet sweeps and the offensive line doesn't get enough credit upfront with [Arizona Cardinals OT] D.J. Humphries. I'm very impressed with their tight ends being able to block as well as get down the field and stretch the field in the passing game. So with that, I take your questions."

What are the things you see in that run game that's allowing them to have so much success?

"I think number one, Conner runs the ball hard, very determined guy, makes a lot of people miss after contact. And again, the offensive line doesn't get enough credit. They do a great job with their gap schemes, opening up holes, getting on the perimeter, getting to the second level. So, they create a lot of problems."

Is there anything in the last game that they showed that pushed them over to be so successful on the ground as opposed to the last two games?

"I think really when you break down the tape as a whole, you see it in each and every game. They were two plays away from beating Washington, they were up on the Giants and lost that football game. So we've talked as a staff, this unit right here could easily be 3-0, so we're definitely not taking these guys lightly at all. It's going to be a good football game."

When you're formulating your game plan, you watch that Giants second half. The Giants pressure Dobbs a lot. How do you balance the desire to get pressure with trying to be conservative against their explosives?

"Well hopefully, we're able to get pressure with our front four. I have a lot of confidence in those guys, coming off the ball and trying to create some havoc. The key thing that we got to do first, we have to stop the run."

What's the signature of Arizona Cardinals TE Zach Ertz for playing in the league for so long. What do you see out of him?

"I just really think the balance, the consistency. As I said before, I think he's good in the run game, as a blocker and can do a great job right here creating matchups really and can stretch it down the field. Good seem ball, guy runs a great seven route. They do a great job with the tight end screens, hiding him at times and he's a red zone threat as well."

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan was talking yesterday about what the Miami Dolphins have unveiled or are using a lot, the quick motion, particularly with Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill this year, that a lot of teams are now using, including the 49ers. I can't imagine that's new to the NFL or has it been dusted off? Where did that come from or is it truly the Dolphins coming up with that?

"No, I don't think it's new at all. Really, to me, nothing in football these days is new. We all steal from one another. I call it window dressing, [Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean] McVay does it all the time. We do a great job of doing it here. So, it's just trying to really create matchups and get your eyes in the wrong spot, get you looking at things that you shouldn't be looking at. They do a great job. Of course, with him coming from here, a lot of what you saw is a lot of things that we do as well."

You used five on the defensive line against the Giants, a few more snaps last week. How much is that a reflection of the confidence you have in LB Fred Warner, given the strain that approach can put on a linebacker?

"A lot of confidence in those guys across the board, particularly up front and knowing that [DT Javon] Kinlaw has worked his butt off all in the offseason, done a tremendous job. I think it just gives those guys an opportunity up front, to get one-on-ones, which I think is tough for anybody to block our guys up front one-on-one."

Is it partially a reward for Kinlaw just to be able to get him in there more?

"It's not so much a reward because he does his share as far as him rotating in there and collapsing the pocket and doing a great job. But I just think it's a change of pace for us in just trying to create the matchups that we want to create a spark."

Javon Kinlaw said he lobbied for that five-man front. How did those conversations go?

"Well, they lobby every week and can get a little testy when I don't call it like, 'It's up when are you going to call it?' So I got to it. We had success and wanted to go back to it as well. And those guys did a great job, so I'm happy about it."

Is it a different rush angle for DL Javon Hargrave?

"No, not really. Again, we're just trying to collapse the pocket. I tell the guys on the outside and [DL] Drake [Jackson] missed one. I told him it's like a layup if you just stay outside because they're going to flush the quarterback. So, he missed that one. They chipped him and he got a little out of control and the quarterback was able to get outside. So, with those three guys, you're talking about Hargrave, [DL] Arik [Armstead] and Kinlaw collapsing the pocket, we're going to flush them."

LB Dre Greenlaw had a couple unnecessary roughness calls the last two weeks. Kyle said he was waiting to get the film back, but he thought they might've been a little borderline. He also had a few last year. Is there a fine line between trying to educate him to not make those fouls or do you just not want to take away his aggressiveness?

"Well, let me first of all mention that the one that they called, it is very apparent on the tape that the guy was still up and I didn't see the whistle being blown. So, we accept the penalty, they called it. But I thought he was still in legal play for making that hit. I definitely never want to take away his aggressive play. That's who he is as a player. We always talk about protecting the team. That's what Kyle mentions each and every day. You get a fine line with some of these quarterbacks that run the ball sometimes, they're sliders, sometimes they stay up. Dobbs is a guy, if you watch him on tape, he's not sliding. So, we got to be ready to hit him."

You're the coordinator, but does Defensive Line Coach Kris Kocurek have autonomy to dial up whatever games he wants up front and does it change against a mobile quarterback?

"Oh, we do a lot of prep as far as game planning, but any and everything that happens on game day, I'll call it. But with his experience being here and all the different pressures that we've done, yeah, we collaborate on that."

DL Nick Bosa said that he felt like the defensive line had its best game yet. A lot of pressures in that last one on Thursday Night. What do you see from them and how much more potential do they have, looking at it, obviously it was a win, but knowing that their potential is probably a lot greater?

"Far greater, far greater. I'm not doubting what he said, that is our best game, up until today. We want to continue to take the next step each and every game. So, the potential that this unit has, not just upfront as a D-line, but as a unit, sky's the limit. We talk about it each and every day. So, I told you guys back in the spring, I've never been around an elite group like this before. And it's not just so much the talent, it's about how we work. These guys grind every day, walkthrough, they're locked in, they're focused. Everything is about details, that's the difference at this level. I've been doing it for a long time. There's a lot of talent around the league, but nobody is a stickler to the details as we are here."

Does it make you excited about what could be in the future?

"Oh, of course. Only thing that we talk about is trying to win today, taking one step at a time, and right now is Arizona."

Offensive Line/Run Game Coordinator Chris Foerster

When you watched the Week Two New York Giants game, you saw the second half and New York Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale dialed up all those exotics, you pretty much knew you were getting the same thing. What did you communicate to C Jake Brendel on the short week about all the different exotic looks that you were probably going to see?

"Well, we looked at all of them leading up to as many as we could, and we can only practice so many of them with the short week. We get as many reps in as we can in a walkthrough setting with the short week. That's all you could do, just keep going through it, review what they showed, know they're going to show different things, make sure he understood and was seeing things right. And he did, for the most part, we did a good job."

How challenging is that when a team is blitzing as much as they are in terms of everyone has to be on their Ps and Qs over and over?

"Yeah, it's always challenging. They do a good job of making sure that they test all your rules. They make sure your rules are sound, make sure your guys are on point. And they did, they tested us and obviously there's always going to be one or two where you miss but for the most part, the guys did a good job. The guy that puts pressure on is a lot of times because there weren't enough blockers. And so, it puts pressure on [QB] Brock [Purdy] and the receiving corps to be able to answer by getting rid of the ball in certain instances and being able to make plays, which we were able to do just enough."

Is it hard to go from that last week to this week, a team that doesn't blitz or least does at the lowest rate in the league?

"Yeah, it's a whole different game. That's the challenge week to week, whether it be the personnel that you're facing, whether it be the scheme that you're facing, there's a challenge every week. And that's the cool part about the season. That's the thing I love about the season is that you can only do so much against your defense. So, once you start going against these guys every week, the challenge is, how do you get guys prepped to play their individual one-on-one battles, schematic battles, then what the game plan that you've implemented throughout the week too. How they apply that to those players and to those schemes. It's a challenge every week and it's really a lot of fun."

Is the Cardinals defense similar to what Philadelphia has been running the last few years?

"Yes. The Cardinals defense is similar from a base standpoint, and then there's part of it. The hard thing this week is how far down the rabbit hole do you go looking at Eagle's film and how much do you look at Arizona film? Obviously, same guys, same defense. Where are they in their progression? Do they put a lot more in this week? Do they leave it where it is? You don't know, but you're ready for everything. The key thing is, I think probably [Head Coach] Kyle [Shanahan] talked before about it, we oftentimes get a lot of unscouted looks that you don't prepare for. So, you're always building upon it. You're always telling guys, 'Hey, look, just because we've prepped you for this this week doesn't mean that you might not see this or that as the week goes through.' You have to go a little bit down that rabbit hole and the rest of it you just have to say, we have to just be prepared. Everything they've done, we've seen at some point just how much will we have prepped for?"

What have you seen from OL Colton McKivitz just since week one?

"Colton's just continued to grind away. With the first week, obviously we left him alone a lot of times with [Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J.] Watt and he had his ups and downs with him. Obviously, it was a battle that T.J. had some success on us, but we were able to get the win and able to come through it. Colton, the next two weeks has just stayed the course. It didn't throw him off. Whatever happened Week One and Week Two and Week Three just continues to work on the things that need to get better. That's the thing that we've always talked about with Colton. His mentality, his demeanor, how one bad play doesn't lead to three bad plays, how he doesn't let things pile up on him. And now even more so that he's a starter and playing every week. I think that that's, 'Hey, you're going to have a bad play every now and then. Now you have to come off that play, correct it and make it better'. And he has done that. But again, it's a whole new week. We'll see."

The Cardinals grabbed a couple of your young offensive linemen right around cut down day last month. How frustrating is that for you to have a young player that you had started to develop, you probably had plans for, to have him get swiped by another team?

"Yeah, in a lot of ways it's a compliment. It means that they played well in the preseason, you just didn't have a place on your roster for them and other people covet them and want them. You have a chance to develop some guys, [Arizona Cardinals OL] Keith [Ismael] we'd had a little bit longer than [Arizona Cardinals OL] Ilm [Manning], but both those guys did really well for us in training camp and it's tough to lose them. But that's the National Football League. There are opportunities for guys somewhere else and more than anything else, I'm happy for the guys, if they have an opportunity to go somewhere else, get on a 53, make some money, not be on a practice squad, that's good for them and I'm happy for them."

As far as your own young guys, OL Leroy Watson, I imagine he's going up against DL Nick Bosa a lot in practice. Do you see the benefit of that? Have you seen him take strides at the Tackle spot?

"Yeah, I do. They're small because they get really two good practice days – Wednesday and Thursday. Friday's more of a walkthrough then Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday they don't do a lot, whereas the other guys play in a game on Sunday. And so it's hard to progress in these times. But we do work with them individually after practice, we work with them over the weekend a little bit. They get a little workout in prior to the game with some time with the coaches. So, there's a little bit of time that we're able to get some work done with them. And there is progression, but it's slow and it's without playing in the games. The games are what they miss and that's where preseason games have huge value for those guys when it gets back to camp next year. And so this time is valuable. They have to make the most of it. It's just in a practice setting, it's hard to get huge jumps. They're little, tiny steps."

What has a veteran like OL Jon Feliciano added to your room? Has he helped some of the younger interior players along so far?

"A hundred percent. He does a great job working not only with the younger players and just giving a veteran presence and leadership from that standpoint. He also does a great job working with Jake and having played the position and working with the other interior guys with [OL] Spencer [Burford] and with [OL Aaron] Banks just together talking about what he's done when he's played certain players. Last week he was a big help for us against the Giants understanding because he'd been there the last year or two, so he knew those guys and so he's just been a help all around from an experience standpoint, from helping young guys, working with the veterans, just communicating and learning our system, doing everything that he needs to be a part of this team. He just blended in really well and we all work together to get this thing accomplished and he's become a big part of that."

Jake Brendel and QB Brock Purdy have had a couple of fumbled exchanges. Anything you can put your finger on?

"Both times it was miscommunication on the snap count. Somebody either snapped the ball early or the quarterback wasn't expecting the ball. Something that was just a miscommunication on when the ball was going to be snapped."

Thirty points a game in the last three games is nothing to scoff at, but obviously Brock Purdy missed a few. There's huge potential for more. Does that leave you kind of excited for what the potential could be?

"Yeah, it always does. You see plays that are available both run and pass. There's been some run opportunities that we've missed over these few weeks that we've just been off on some combination blocks and things. Everybody can see, the wide-open pass that, might be missed or overthrown and who knows why that is, whether it's receiver, the quarterback, the line, the protection, a hundred different reasons for it, but it does lead to hope. You say, 'Yeah man, well we hit a couple of these, you're not going to hit them all.' But if you hit one or two more, well what happens? You hit one or two of these runs, what happens? So there's always room for improvement. That's the good thing. You can look at it and say, 'Hey guys, these are things we need to improve on'. There are definite, clear things to work on."

How is Brock Purdy at the line of scrimmage setting protections? He made that anticipatory touchdown pass to WR Ronnie Bell and Bell hadn't even gotten out of his break yet and the ball was in the air. How good is he at setting protections and being an anticipatory thrower?

"Yeah, he's awesome. He does a great job. We talk about this and that and you say, yeah, well, he finally was the starting quarterback all of training camp and he finally was the starting quarterback through preseason. And last year he took over midseason with zero reps as the third quarterback and then played through the year and has had success. So, it's all ahead of him. He just continues to grow and get better and you couldn't be happier with the way he does things. Most of our protections are pretty well taken care of by Kyle, by the center. The quarterbacks don't do as much with it, but he understands completely where the free guys are. He moves away from pressure and does an excellent job with that, understands his problems. He's a real student of the game, understands it and has the athleticism and the ability to make plays and make throws. The anticipatory throws have been, to me and I'm not a pass guy as much as I am a line coach, but they seem really cool how he does that."

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By David Bonilla
Nov 22

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has been named the NFC Offensive Player of the Week in recognition of his impressive performance during the team's Week 11 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi's Stadium. Purdy completed 21 of his 25 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns, earning a perfect passer rating of 158.3. Notably, he is the first 49ers quarterback to do so with a minimum of 20 pass attempts (Joe Montana did it in a game in 1989 on 19 attempts). Furthermore, Purdy became the first 49ers quarterback to post a passer rating of 140.0 or higher in consecutive games since Alex Smith did so in 2012. Purdy became the third player in NFL history under the age of 24 to earn a perfect passer rating with a minimum of 20


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