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Elite talent: 49ers QB Brock Purdy demonstrates ability to ‘make every throw’

Dec 10, 2023 at 6:55 PM--

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The skeptics are running out of excuses. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy continues to deliver MVP-like performances, as shown once again in Sunday's 28-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He completed 19 of 27 passing attempts (70.4 percent), achieving a career-high 368 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception, resulting in a 122.1 pass rating.

Sunday marked Purdy's seventh consecutive game with a completion percentage of 70 or higher. Only three other quarterbacks—Joe Montana (8), Drew Brees (7), and Sam Bradford (7)—have accomplished that feat.

Speaking to reporters after the game, the always-humble Purdy deflected attention away from himself, redirecting it towards his teammates.

"I'm a part of a special group," Purdy said. "Any one of our guys, any one of our eligibles, man, you get the ball in their hands, and then they can go do the rest, break tackles, obviously have pull-away, breakaway speed. I mean, we see it every game. So, to throw like a five-yard pass or even a deep ball, it doesn't matter. We've got playmakers."

Looking around the locker room, you won't find anyone surprised by Purdy's play. The second-year quarterback has been performing at a high level since taking over the starting job last season.

Purdy's few remaining critics often point to the weapons around him and head coach Kyle Shanahan's system as excuses to diminish what the 23-year-old has accomplished.

"I don't get why people say he's a system quarterback," tackle Trent Williams said. "... No system quarterback makes tight-window throws before they're there, throwing people open, putting the ball into a window and trusting his receiver to get there, layering balls over linebackers who are in good position, and still getting the ball over their head, getting it to the playmaker.

"[He's] just so accurate. You watch a lot of his throws, the accuracy gives them guys a chance to run after the catch, and I don't think he gets enough credit for that."

Why is that? Williams believes it has to do with Purdy's draft status. As the last overall pick in the 2022 draft, some might hesitate to give the quarterback credit to avoid making the scouting process look bad. After all, every team, including the 49ers, passed on drafting Purdy multiple times.

"If he was Zach Wilson, I think he'd probably be unanimous MVP, [labeled as] the next coming of Aaron Rodgers, or somebody like that," Williams said.

It's challenging for running back Christian McCaffrey to pinpoint key areas where Purdy has improved the most. That's because the young quarterback burst onto the scene, immediately playing at a high level.

"He's gotten better every week, but he started out so hot," McCaffrey said. "He started out doing things so well, and he's been so consistent. And I think he's the same guy every day. He's a silent assassin but competitive. And yeah, he's growing, but he's also playing at such a high level all the time that if he just continues to be him, we're in the right spot."

Purdy seemed uncomfortable with his running back labeling him a "silent assassin." When asked if it was accurate, the quarterback searched for the words, eventually responding, "I'm sort of going to not answer that. I respect that. Thank you, Christian. But, yeah, appreciate it."

In NFL circles, Williams probably isn't hearing the term "silent assassin" from acquaintances around the league. However, he believes the 49ers' opponents recognize Purdy for what he is—an elite-level talent that can pick apart defenses.

"In locker rooms, guys who know football, guys who study us before they play us, there's no way you can look at him and say, 'That's a system quarterback,' when you watch the throws he makes, you watch him making them under pressure," Williams shared. "I mean, he rarely checks the ball down. Everything is going upfield, getting the ball upfield, even has the ability to buy extra time with his feet. And even when he does, his eyes stay down the field. Very seldom is he looking to run the ball past the line of scrimmage. He really wants to get it into his playmakers' hands.

"I think he does the best job right now in the NFL at getting that ball into his playmaking hands, whether it's five yards down the field or 55 yards down the field. He can make every throw. He literally can make every throw, and you can't show a throw that he can't make."

Williams added, "His success is not a secret, and it damn sure ain't got nothing to do with the system."

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