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49ers Phenoms Defend ‘Assassin’ Brock Purdy Against Critics

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Brock Purdy: The Silent Assassin of the San Francisco 49ers

It was a sterling day, as usual, for San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey in the impressive 28-16 dismantling of the Seahawks on Sunday. McCaffrey had 145 yards rushing in the game, his most productive showing since Week 1 against the Steelers, when he had 152. But it was his assessment of quarterback Brock Purdy after the game that might have been McCaffrey’s best work of the day.

In describing Purdy, McCaffrey said, “He’s a silent assassin. If he just continues to be him, we’re in the right spot.”

What better what to sum up the baby-faced, often-underestimated, second-year quarterback who was the final player chosen in the 2022 NFL draft? Purdy is, and proved again to be on Sunday, an assassin that teams don’t seem to know how to handle.

All he did against Seattle: 368 yards, two touchdowns, 122.1 quarterback rating. That marks the fourth time in the last five weeks that Purdy was over 120 on his QB rating. He also completed 70.4% of his passes, and became one of only four quarterbacks in history to complete 70% of his passes in seven straight weeks.

Brock Purdy Completed 4 Deep Balls vs. Seattle

Most impressive about Brock Purdy’s performance for the 49ers might be that he was especially proficient with the deep ball in the win. In all, he completed four deep passes for gains of 20-plus yards—two to Brandon Aiyuk, two to George Kittle.

When this was mentioned to Kittle after the game, he responded sarcastically to the oft-repeated criticism of Purdy—that he only throws checkdowns and can’t throw the ball deep.

“I thought he couldn’t throw the ball. Wow, that’s crazy,” Kittle said after the game, smiling.

But he continued in earnest: “When you have deep threats, when you hit Deebo (Samuel) over the top, when you hit Aiyuk deep downfield, when you hit me deep downfield, it just changes how the defense has to play. It opens up our run game a little bit for Christian because if you give that boy a lane, good luck trying to tackle him. He ran his tail off today. The more we can do stuff over the top, it kind of opens stuff up.”

49ers Trent Williams: ‘Ain’t Got Nothing to Do With the System’

For the most part, the Seahawks actually played the 49ers fairly deep in their coverage, leaving open the underneath checkdowns that Brock Purdy allegedly loves so much. That was the case, too, in the first meetings of the teams, back on Thanksgiving, a San Francisco win in Seattle.

Still, Purdy felt comfortable challenging the Seattle secondary.

“I feel like we’ve always sort of had shots within plays. If the defense gives us a look, we take it. Was I afraid to go deep or anything like that last year? I don’t think so. This year I feel just more aware of what our offense is and where guys are supposed to be and if a defense gives us a look I’m more ready for it and aware of it. So, I have taken deep shots this year,” he said.

And while his other teammates were pulling apart the Brock Purdy criticism that he can’t throw deep, left tackle Trent Williams was addressing the notion that Purdy is simply a “system” quarterback who succeeds because of Kyle Shanahan’s game plans.

“Every time he approaches Sunday, you can tell this is the most important game in his life and he treats every week like that. So his success is not a secret and it damn sure ain’t got nothing to do with the system,” Williams said.

Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com. He has written for Heavy since 2019 and has more than two decades of experience covering the NBA, including 17 years as the lead NBA reporter for the Sporting News. Deveney is the author of 7 nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney

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Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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