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Thanksgiving reflection: John Lynch grateful for 49ers, emergence of Brock Purdy

Nov 23, 2023 at 10:17 AM--

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It's Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude and reflection. San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, reflecting on the season, is grateful for the opportunity to shape one of the NFL's most competitive rosters, one with lofty Super Bowl hopes.

Lynch is also grateful for the emergence of quarterback Brock Purdy. The team waited until last year's final draft pick to acquire him, and the move has paid significant dividends. Purdy entered last season buried in the depth chart but took over the starting job after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Lance never relinquished that starting job.

"Well, I'm thankful for all our players," Lynch told NBC Sports Bay Area as the 49ers prepare for a Thanksgiving showdown with the division-rival Seattle Seahawks. "I'm thankful for this opportunity to work with this great organization."

The 49ers got lucky, landing Purdy late in the draft as other teams struggled to secure reliable quarterbacks. Purdy is on pace to pass for over 4,500 yards and has league highs in completion percentage (70.2), touchdown percentage (6.5), yards per pass attempts (9.7), yards per completion (13.8), passer rating (115.1), and QBR (77.0).

Reflecting on Purdy's impressive performance, Lynch stated, "You know, I don't know what the heck we waited so long for, but, man, I tell you what, Brock continues [to improve] each and every week, and probably no week better tells the story of what he's been and how good he's been than last week versus Tampa."

Purdy completed 21 of his 25 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns against the Buccaneers. He earned a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the game, a feat not seen from a 49ers quarterback since Joe Montana in 1989.

"He was so consistent, so dynamic," Lynch said. "Whatever you want to call it, he makes good decisions. I see a quarterback who's thrown to every area of the field, so that means, as a defense, you have to defend every area of the field. Yeah, we have great playmakers around him, but somebody's got to make those decisions, get the ball out, and he just seems to make the right decision.

"Early in that game, there was some interior pressure. To not get flustered, to hang in there, and have the game that he did, I thought was just phenomenal. Passer rating is a confusing stat. Does it matter? Does it not? It does when you're 158.3. It means you're pretty darn good."

Lynch acknowledged the uniqueness of Purdy's achievement, stating, "And the fact that only Joe Montana had matched that in this organization says—I've watched Steve Young play a lot of ... it looked like perfect football, but apparently he never did it. And so it's a nice feather in the cap for Brock."

The 49ers seem to have found their franchise quarterback after hoping for Kirk Cousins, trading for Garoppolo, and later trading a haul of draft capital to select Lance. After working so hard to find a top talent over the years, Purdy kind of fell into their laps, and it looks like a seamless fit for head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense.

"It sure looks like that thus far," Lynch admitted. "I think if you're going to play quarterback for Kyle Shanahan, you're going to be challenged, and he throws a ton of volume. It can be a big advantage, but it can also be a big challenge. And I just see the confidence that Kyle has as a playcaller with Brock as his quarterback. It really lets him take off the gloves and do kind of whatever that beautiful mind of his wants to do, and that's a special thing.

"And then you start thinking of all the weapons that we have, and the way we can disperse them, and the way we can use them and hit all levels of the field. The coolest thing is we're not going and saying, 'Okay, this is [TE George] Kittle's game, this is [RB] Christian's [McCaffrey] game, this is [WR] Brandon's [Aiyuk], this is [WR] Deebo's [Samuel].' It's just, let's dial up these plays, and sure, there's a number one in the progression, but Brock's going to get it to the right place most of the time and at a really high rate."

Lynch realizes that the powerful combination of a precise quarterback, top-tier talent, and a well-crafted offensive scheme is a recipe for success that bodes well for the 49ers' future.

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