San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy wasn’t expected to play this season after being selected with the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft, but injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo forced Purdy into action. In his first NFL start, Purdy would have to take down Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Good luck, rookie.
If Purdy was intimidated, he didn’t show it in Sunday’s game. Purdy led the 49ers to a 35-7 blowout win over Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 14.
The game got out of hand quickly, as Purdy led four touchdown drives in the first half to take a 28-0 lead at halftime. Purdy ran in a score on the team’s third drive of the contest and threw a beautiful, back-shoulder touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey on the next drive.
That play was enough to make Purdy’s father break down in tears. Purdy’s dad was captured wiping away tears in the stands after his son put the 49ers up 21-0.
It was a touching moment that highlights the improbability of Purdy being in this position. The 49ers were committed to starting Lance in 2022. An early injury scrapped those plans, but the team wisely held onto Garoppolo despite trying to make a trade in the offseason.
Garoppolo did his usual thing and put up solid numbers while leading the 49ers to wins until he got injured in Week 13. Purdy came on in relief of Garoppolo and threw two touchdowns and one interception in a 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
The story should have ended there. Purdy was the last pick of the draft, after all. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him falter against the Bucs.
Instead, Purdy balled out. Before halftime, he led the 49ers on another touchdown drive, this time finding Brandon Aiyuk for a 32-yard score.
At halftime, the 49ers held a 28-0 lead over the Buccaneers. It was only the second time in Brady’s career he trailed by 28 points or more at halftime.
Tom Brady trails by 28+ points at halftime for the 2nd time in his career. He was down 31-0 to Saints on 11/8/20
— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 11, 2022
Even before Purdy’s final touchdown of the half, the entire stadium was chanting his name.
Purdy didn’t add to those numbers much in the second half with the 49ers out to a big lead. He was eventually taken out of the game and replaced by Josh Johnson once 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan determined the contest was out of hand. Purdy finished the game 16 of 21 for 185 yards. He threw two touchdowns against no interceptions and ran in a score.
After the game ended, Purdy ran up into the stands to celebrate with his family.
Purdy and Shanahan revealed after the game that he has been dealing with an oblique injury, which is what prompted them to put in Johnson in the second half. Though Purdy said he could have finished the game, he clearly didn’t need to with their lead.
Purdy has yet to play two full games in the NFL, so anointing him as the next Brady is probably premature. But Purdy has shown some ability in his first two NFL games, and should get plenty of chances down the stretch to prove whether this hot start is for real.
He will look to continue his winning ways Thursday, when the 49ers take on the Seattle Seahawks in Week 15.