How Eagles defenders rate 49ers QB Purdy ahead of Sunday showdown originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
He has the highest touchdown percentage in the last 50 years. Again, just ahead of Mahomes and Rodgers.
“Nothing jumps out about him physically, but he's a good, sound, fundamental, composed, consistent player,” Eagles cornerback Bradley Roby said. “And that goes way farther than the height and weight and speed. He's a football player.
“He has things you can't measure. You can't measure heart, you can't measure composure, you can't measure pocket-escape ability, you can't measure anticipation, you can't measure being a leader. All that stuff you can't measure.
“That’s why he wasn’t drafted until the seventh round. Sometimes you just got to see what somebody's like on the field. He does a great job in his position. He does all the things he needs to do.”
Purdy will make his 17th career regular-season start Sunday when the 49ers face the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field in the latest Game of the Year.
The Eagles are 10-1 and have owned or shared the best record in the NFL for 30 weeks now (guaranteed to reach at least 31). The 49ers are 8-3 after posting a 13-4 record last season.
Purdy has a 13-3 regular-season record with a 69.1 completion percentage and a 110.5 passer rating, he has thrown a touchdown pass on 6.7 percent of his attempts. The first two are NFL records. The third is the best in 50 years.
“I see a guy that's comfortable back there,” Eagles safety Kevin Byard said. “I see a guy that's able to get all his playmakers involved. He's executing their game plan and their offense at a very high level. That's why they're winning. That's why he's been their starting quarterback.
"He's playing at a really high level, in my opinion. It's going to be a challenge to try to stop them, to try to disrupt the timing and the flow and the rhythm of their offense, to try to get them off-kilter a little bit.”
Purdy went 5-0 in the 2022 regular season after he replaced injured starter Jimmy Garoppolo and didn’t lose until the NFC Championship Game against the Eagles, when he suffered a torn elbow ligament while being hit by linebacker Haason Reddick and lost a fumble.
Purdy was 4-of-4 passing for 23 yards and was sacked once before he left the game in the first quarter. Josh Johnson replaced him but left the game early in the third quarter with a concussion after going 7-of-13 passing for 74 yards. Purdy returned to the game because the 49ers didn’t have any other quarterbacks, but he threw only one more pass -- for 3 yards.
The Eagles won 31-7 to reach the Super Bowl.
But this year, Purdy has been healthy and playing at a record-setting level. He’s on pace to join Rodgers and Deshaun Watson -- both in 2020 -- with at least 29 TD passes, single-digit interceptions and 70 percent accuracy in a season.
“I would say I think it first starts with the head coach,” Eagles cornerback James Bradberry said. “They do a good job of coaching up quarterback play and just having a good game plan for whatever team they play against.
"Purdy, I would call him somewhat of a gunslinger. He takes opportunities, he takes chances. Throws the ball into tight windows. He has a strong arm and he trusts his arm. That's one thing as a quarterback, you've got to be able to trust your arm and sometimes anticipate guys getting open. He does a good job of doing that.”
One category where Purdy isn't among the NFL leaders is pass attempts. He ranks 25th with 27.7 passes per game, as the 49ers want to run the ball to take pressure off blocking opposing pass rushers and make Purdy even more dangerous.
Christian McCaffrey is second in the league with 17.6 carries per game, and the 49ers overall are sixth with 30.6 carries per game.
Purdy never has thrown more than 37 passes in a game.
“It’s not like they ask him to pass the ball 40, 50 times a game,” Roby said. “It's a balanced, kind of an old-school throwback offense. And he has great anticipation. He throws the ball before guys get open a lot. You don't really see that very often. That's kind of almost a lost art. I played with Peyton Manning, and he used to do that.
“I remember playing against him and, like, ‘What am I supposed to do?’ I'm right here, but he's throwing it before the guy even breaks. As soon as he turns around, the ball’s right there. I think that's what he does a great job of. Something that you don't really see too often, but he does a great job of anticipating.”