Brock Purdy earns high marks for leading 49ers from behind

LAS VEGAS — Since taking over from Jimmy Garoppolo, rookie Brock Purdy has faced and passed many trials with the San Francisco 49ers.

But what he got from the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday was probably the hardest yet.

The Niners faced a fourth-quarter deficit for the first time with Purdy as a starter, but no one knew how he would handle it. But Purdy got higher marks, as the 49ers won his hard-fought 37-34 shootout against the Raiders, as he did in every other test.

It was San Francisco’s nine-game winning streak, the longest since their 11-game winning streak in 1997.

Purdy became the first rookie quarterback to win four straight games since Ben Roethlisberger won 13-0 in 2004. This was in a game where the Niners took his second win since Kyle Shanahan took it by his double-digit margin in the second half. In 2017, he left his coach and many of his teammates ready to tell him that this was not a momentary event.

“What Brock is doing is real,” Shanahan said. “He’s a very tough, talented guy. When he makes a mistake, he understands why and tries to learn from it. He doesn’t have a lot of experience in this league. I think every time he comes out, for better or worse, if he gets the skills and plays the game the right way, he’ll only get better. I think it did.”

Purdy finished 22 of 35 passes for 284 yards with 2 touchdowns and 68.5 QBR interceptions. It was his second-longest streak by a rookie since the 1970 merger (Chargers’ Justin Herbert achieved his 7th streak in 2020). And Purdy has thrown multiple touchdowns in each of his last five games, tying Dak Prescott circa 2016 as the only rookie to do so in NFL history and win all five games.

Perhaps most impressive is what Purdy did in the fourth quarter. Going into Sunday, he played a total of nine snaps the 49ers trailed at any point in the five games in which he was the starting starter. It happened when he joined Garoppolo with 9:30 left in the first quarter of the match.

But Purdy was unfazed by the scoreboard, according to teammates.

“Given his type of player, his type, how good he really is, and how calm he is and how he’s playing this game at the quarterback position, he’s got me. I feel like it even let me speed up. Just a little bit,” said receiver Brandon Ayuk. I did.”

After falling behind 24-14, Purdy led a scoring drive for the four Niners in regulation. In the final two, he passed 6-of-10 for 113 yards, with one drive ending in a rushing touchdown by Jordan Mason and another missed field goal.

Purdy, who said he hadn’t played in a close-and-tardiness situation since his Iowa State days, credited Shanahan’s play-calls and talented teammates for helping along the way. But he didn’t mind facing the pressure of the game in the end either.

“I don’t have to go feeling like the weight of the world is on my shoulders, I have to perform,” Purdy said. So it was nice to feel that way in the fourth quarter to play that kind of game point.It was nice to go through that and feel it again.

With this win, the Niners overtook the Minnesota Vikings and secured the second seed in the NFC playoffs. The teams have the same record, but the Niners hold the tiebreaker due to his better record in NFC games (9-2). San Francisco will head to Arizona next Sunday with a win over the Cardinals or a Vikings loss to the Chicago Bears to round out second place.

San Francisco even has a chance for the No. 1 seed (and bye and home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs) if the Philadelphia Eagles lose to the New York Giants after beating the Cardinals in Week 18.

“I think it’s really important,” Shanahan said. “Our first goal is to qualify for the playoffs. It’s all about positioning yourself in the best way you can, and you don’t know until we get in, but they talk to us and tell the team if we can handle the business, I I know we can tell you we have two seeds.With Philadelphia losing it seems like the other team has a chance too.The playoffs started a long time ago is our view and we will continue to do so.

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