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Why last season’s Buccaneers game was a mental turning point for 49ers QB Brock Purdy

Nov 16, 2023 at 4:52 PM--

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Brock Purdy's first NFL start came last season in a home victory over the Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With the San Francisco 49ers preparing to host the Buccaneers again, looking to improve their record to 7-3, the quarterback reflected on last season's pivotal Week 14 game, marking a turning point for the young player.

Although Purdy had significant playing time in a previous game, stepping in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins a week earlier, it was the Buccaneers contest that had a profound impact on the then-rookie quarterback.

Purdy spoke to reporters after Thursday's practice, reminiscing about his first NFL start.

"Yeah, it was huge," Purdy said of that game. "Just the confidence that came from that, knowing that, all right, I can play in this league. We were on a roll, too. We had our sights set on finishing out the season strong, so I was more excited just to show my teammates and the guys in this building that I can be the guy to help do that.

"And so it was a huge game for myself, my confidence, and looking back on it, it's always sort of fun just to see where I was as a backup, trying to make my way in the NFL and then sort of making a name for myself. Yeah, it's a good memory, for sure."

In reflecting on the lead-up to that game, Purdy acknowledged that the scrutiny he faced was more intense than that for the Dolphins game.

"Last year, going into that game, everyone's eyes were on me," Purdy said. "I feel like the guys in the locker room [were thinking] how's this rookie going to handle it, the preparation? It's one thing to get thrown into a game and not all the pressure and stuff's on you. It's like you sort of have that outlet of, yeah, I just got thrown into the game, give me a week to prepare. But now you got a week to prepare, and it's like, all right, let's see what you can do with it.

"So I feel like there definitely was some expectations and pressures and stuff that I felt just naturally, but compared to now, it's like, yeah, I put that pressure and expectation on myself in terms of I have to play at this standard now, trying to get better every single week. But last year, going into this game was definitely on another level."

What does Purdy see when he looks back at the film from that game? Has there been significant growth since then?

"Yes and no," Purdy responded. "There's plays that I made in that game where everyone was like, 'Wow, this guy can play.' So it just felt good. But after you play for a while, it's like, in a sense, you're sort of expected to play at that standard, so that's where I'm at with that.

"I watched the film. There's some stuff on the film, honestly, where I was like, dude, that's a little sloppy. I can clean it up. Just the operation, how I run the offense. Those are all areas I feel like I've grown and can continue to be better at.

"But the spark, the energy, the chip on the shoulder that I played with in that game, I feel like, in the sense, it's sort of the same. Still trying to prove to myself that I belong in this league, on this team, and stuff like that."

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