Mr. Relevant: It’s time for the Brock Purdy Show

It’s hard to imagine when the 49ers selected Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy with the final pick in the 2022 draft that they envisioned him playing for them as a rookie. Alas, Mr. Irrelevant was thrust into a starring role in San Francisco’s 33-17 win over the Dolphins when QB Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a foot injury early in the first quarter.

Garoppolo and QB Trey Lance have officially been ruled out for the season. The trade deadline has passed and available free agent QBs in December aren’t going to make much of an impact. That means crunch time for the 49ers’ 2022 campaign is Purdy’s to lead. And that may not necessarily be a bad thing.

Purdy’s first NFL action came in Week 7 against the Chiefs and his performance during mop up duty in a 44-23 Chiefs romp left a lot to be desired. It was a sign that Purdy wasn’t ready to win as a spot starter if Garoppolo went down. Sunday was a different story.

In virtually a full game’s worth of action, Purdy completed 25 of 37 throws for 210 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. It wasn’t perfect, but the 49ers have never needed perfect from their QB.

Purdy showed off some mobility by evading pressure, made some good throws on the run, and led five scoring drives. There were definitely some rookie mistakes where he missed throws, held the ball too long or ran into a sack, but overall it was a performance that instilled much more optimism than his 10 snaps of mop-up duty in Week 7 where he went four-for-nine with an interception.

Sunday gave the 49ers a little bit of a blueprint for success with Mr. Irrelevant under center. Their defense will always lead the way for them, and three takeaways with a defensive touchdown mixed in helped make Purdy’s life easier, but they still moved ball enough with the rookie. He made a couple of nice throws to tight end George Kittle to convert third downs, and he relied heavily on running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

The 49ers’ formula the last few years has always been to get behind their defense and avoid mistakes while distributing the ball to their bevy of playmakers on offense. That’ll still be the formula moving forward, it’s just going to come with some hiccups.

Purdy, despite being in an ideal situation for a young QB, is still a rookie making his first handful of NFL starts in the thick of a playoff chase. There are still going to be rookie mistakes and growing pains that lead to either bad sacks or turnovers. Adversity is going to come more often for the 49ers’ offense with a first-year player under center.

Overcoming adversity was what Sunday was all about though, and the 49ers showed they have the horses to do it. Their margin for error isn’t very big, but Purdy at least showed Sunday he’s capable of guiding an offense to do just enough to secure a win behind the NFL’s top defense. Now he’ll get a full week to prepare as the team’s No. 1 QB.

There will be improvements from Purdy as he goes, just as there’ll be head-scratching mistakes. There’s a chance this works out fine. There’s also a chance the wheels fall off completely. Either way the 49ers don’t really have a choice. The Brock Purdy era is upon us. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show.


Notebook: 49ers overcome Jimmy Garoppolo injury, beat Dolphins

Story originally appeared on Niners Wire