SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)Brock Purdy wasn’t sure he’d make it through his second NFL start or if a hard hit to his sore ribs and oblique would force him out.
Purdy survived just fine, delivering another winning performance for the San Francisco 49ers and now has the benefit of a few extra days off to feel much healthier before start No. 3 on Saturday against Washington.
Purdy couldn’t even throw in practice before last Thursday’s 21-13 win at Seattle that clinched the NFC West title but has been able to do much more the first two days of practice this week.
”I feel a lot better compared to last week going into the game,” he said Wednesday. ”Just compared to how I felt going into the game and then obviously having a good three days before doing anything of just rest and recovery, I feel a lot better.”
The injury didn’t limit Purdy too much, as he completed 17 of 26 passes for 217 yards, two TDs and didn’t turn the ball over as the Niners’ offense has barely skipped a beat since the last pick of the 2022 draft stepped in for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in a Week 13 win over Miami.
The performance also helped Purdy earn even more respect from his veteran teammates.
”He’s got so much toughness,” running back Christian McCaffrey said. ”He’s resilient. He’s able to go out there and sacrifice a lot and make some plays knowing that he’s going through a lot. Just a testament to his character and his toughness.”
Purdy has been able to win in different ways since stepping in, showing the ability to handle the heavy blitzes that Miami and Tampa Bay threw at him in his first two games to picking apart Seattle when the Seahawks stayed back in coverage.
In all, Purdy is 58 for 84 (69%) for 612 yards with six touchdowns and only one interception since taking over as the No. 1 quarterback in San Francisco.
Coach Kyle Shanahan has shown trust in Purdy, putting the ball in his hands in key spots late in the half of his first two games and at the end of the game in Seattle.
Just as important has been Purdy’s ability of pulling off a difficult balancing act of being a leader befitting his role as starting quarterback while knowing his place in a locker room filled with accomplished veterans with far more accolades in their careers.
”My goal coming in was to earn the respect of the guys that have been here and as a rookie, you can’t just come in and be a rah-rah guy and try to act like you’re the guy already, so I just try to do my part, pay my dues and earn my stripes,” he said. ”That still hasn’t changed. I still have to do that kind of stuff as a rookie now, but my whole thing was, I’m going to go in and support the quarterbacks, compete and push them to make them better. And if my opportunity comes, then obviously make the most of it. I feel like the guys have seen that, the older guys have seen that, and they respect that.
”I appreciate them for that. And honestly, we all want to win and if that takes a rookie quarterback, so be it.”
NOTES: The Niners had six players picked for the Pro Bowl: LT Trent Williams, DE Nick Bosa, LB Fred Warner, FB Kyle Juszczyk, S Talanoa Hufanga and TE George Kittle. … C Jake Brendel, K Robbie Gould, RB Christian McCaffrey, returner Ray-Ray McCloud, WR Deebo Samuel, CB Charvarius Ward and P Mitch Wishnowsky were selected as alternates. … Ward (concussion) remains limited at practice.
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