How Brock Purdy's 'different level' play has impressed 49ers veterans

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What impresses 49ers veteran teammates most about Purdy originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

The rookie who defied the odds to win a roster spot as the 49ers’ No. 3 quarterback now is the team’s most important player heading into the final week of the 2022 NFL regular season and the playoffs.

Brock Purdy.

“He has been exactly what we’ve needed at that position and has stepped up big time,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said in the aftermath of the 49ers’ 37-34 overtime road victory against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Name a box, and Purdy has checked it in the five games since leaving the sideline to step in for Jimmy Garoppolo, who sustained a fractured foot on Dec. 4.

“Today really showed us that this dude’s on a different level,” 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk said on Sunday.

Purdy was not perfect, of course, but he passed his biggest test on a day in which the 49ers’ defense struggled and the offense was challenged to show it could win a shootout.

“He handled it great,” Aiyuk said. “He did a great job. Super calm dude. Super calm dude. The moment is never too big for him.”

The 49ers trailed 24-14 in the third quarter, the biggest deficit the club has faced since Purdy became the team’s starter. Purdy twice led the team on impressive, pressure-packed drives late in the fourth quarter.

Tied at 27-27 with 4:08 remaining in regulation, Purdy hit Aiyuk and Christian McCaffrey for gains of 23 and 38 yards to set up Jordan Mason’s go-ahead 14-yard touchdown run.

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When the Raiders tied the game with 1:11 remaining, Purdy went to work again with completions to Aiyuk of 12, 18, 11 and 11 yards.

Robbie Gould’s 41-yard field goal attempt sliced right as time expired, and the game moved into overtime.

Purdy was not asked to do anything other than take a knee in overtime. Tashaun Gipson’s 56-yard interception return set up Gould’s game-winning kick from 23 yards on second down.

Purdy continues to impress the veterans around him with how he conducts himself in all situations.

“He was great,” McCaffrey said. “Not only was he poised but he took the throne, too, and made a couple calls in the huddle and was very definitive in the way he ran things.

“Everything was really smooth. It was a good time to have a game like that, especially for him to be able to go out there and stay poised and do what he did.”

Tight end George Kittle said he believes the ups and downs Purdy experienced during his 46-start college career at Iowa State made him uniquely qualified for immediate success as a professional.

Purdy won a lot of games in college, but he also had to learn how to bounce back from difficult situations. The 49ers could not have scripted a better situation to prepare Purdy for what he and the team are likely to face in the NFL postseason.

“Just for Brock to get those reps with a ton of pressure on your shoulders, and just to go right through it, that’s what you want to see from him,” Kittle said.

Since taking over for Garoppolo, Purdy has completed 95 of 141 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,130 yards with 10 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 106.4.

RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense in overtime win vs. Raiders

The 49ers take a nine-game win streak into Week 18 against the Arizona Cardinals, and Purdy has been been the quarterback for the past five victories.

“I can’t say enough about Brock and the way that he’s played,” Warner said. “We’re going to need him big time for the rest of the season.

“He’s stepped up big time. The poise, the confidence is incredible for a rookie.”

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