SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Any doubts raised about Brock Purdy during the first little slump of his brief NFL career have been emphatically answered by his record-setting performance the past two games.
The five interceptions that contributed to a three-game losing streak for the San Francisco 49ers turned into near flawless play the past two weeks capped by his perfect passer rating in Sunday's 27-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Purdy is 40 for 51 for 629 yards, six TDs, no interceptions and a 157.3 passer rating the past two weeks against the Bucs and Jaguars for the highest passer rating ever in a two-game stretch.
Purdy said he credited getting the “chip” back on his shoulder after the shaky stretch for the recent turnaround.
“Getting back to that and then proving myself every drive, every play that I can be the guy for this team and I have to earn it every single week at practice, in meetings, whatever it may be,” he said.
"So, that’s the mindset of what I was talking about and definitely more in tune to being detailed and stuff the last couple weeks and finding that chip again.”
Purdy is the seventh player to have a passer rating of at least 145 in two straight games with at least 20 attempts and the first to do it since Drew Brees in 2018.
Purdy leads the NFL in passer rating (115.1), completion rate (70.2%), yards per attempt (9.7) and percentage of passes for touchdowns (6.5%).
“System quarterback, right?" tight end George Kittle said derisively about the criticism Purdy receives. “Brock’s fantastic in the way he shows up every single day. Someone asked him about his mindset, like how he can be so aggressive and protect the football. He talked about being a surgeon. He talked about having zero fear and just that quote from him shows his maturity level, how he understands the game and what it means to play quarterback at a high level while being aggressive at taking care of the football.”
Few quarterbacks have been put into a better situation than Purdy on a 49ers offense that features playmakers such as Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel; an All-Pro left tackle in Trent Williams; and one of game's best play-callers in coach Kyle Shanahan.
But the Niners bristle at the suggestion that Purdy is just along for the ride and is being carried by his teammates.
“Yeah, that’s a horrendous statement," McCaffrey said. "That’s never been the case. You could make that argument with any quarterback. I can show you the tape. If we really sit down and watch all the amazing throws, amazing plays, off-schedule plays, and the checks that he’s getting to. It starts with him.”
Purdy has helped take the Niners to another level since taking over as quarterback last December, being far more productive than any of his predecessors under Shanahan, including Jimmy Garoppolo, who helped San Francisco reach the Super Bowl following the 2019 season.
Purdy has added new elements to the San Francisco offense with his ability to scramble to extend plays and willingness to throw deep.
Purdy's 20 completions on throws at least 20 yards downfield this season are the most for any 49ers quarterback in Shanahan's seven seasons. He has completed 60.5% of his deep throws with four TDs, no interceptions and a 144.3 rating that would be the highest for any qualifying QB since Sportradar began tracking air yards in 2006.
“I think it’s just another component that the defense has to be aware about and respect,” Purdy said. “Obviously it can open up a lot of other things when there’s a threat of going deep. We have the personnel where we can go deep and we have some speed. There’s opportunities when the defense gives the right look for us and when we have the right play on, let’s let it rip and let’s take a shot."
NOTES: The Niners signed OL Ben Bartch off Jacksonville's practice squad and placed S Talanoa Hufanga (knee) on IR. ... San Francisco could be down two starting guards this week with RG Spencer Burford (knee) missing practice Tuesday and LG Aaron Banks (toe) limited after missing the past two games. ... DT Javon Hargrave (thumb), WR Ray-Ray McCloud (rib) and CB Shemar Jean-Charles (shoulder) were also limited.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl