Purdy buzz-sawed the Pittsburgh Steelers defense with 19-of-29 passing for 220 yards and two touchdowns in his return from that elbow injury. He faced the question from the media afterward if that injury crossed his mind while playing in the 49ers’ 30-17 season-opening win at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
“I mean, honestly, not really,” Purdy told reporters on Sunday. “I think [that happened] more in camp and stuff I felt like that. I feel like right there in that moment, it was like, this is what we’re supposed to do. This is what we expect us to do, expect out of ourselves. And once I hit that touchdown, I wasn’t thinking [about] surgery or anything like that. It was, man, we’re here to win. This is it. This is how we’re going to play. And that’s where I was at mentally.”
Not only that, Purdy accomplished an achievement that piqued the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s attention. He became the first NFL quarterback ever to win his first six starts and throw two or more touchdowns each time in regular season action.
In addition, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Purdy became the first-ever NFL quarterback to post a passer rating of 95 or higher in his first six starts.
49ers’ Nick Bosa Praises Brock Purdy
Considering that Purdy’s injury and surgery curtailed his offseason, 49ers defensive lineman Nick Bosa expressed how much Purdy’s comeback means from his experience as a player who faced a season-ending injury in 2021.
“I think whenever a guy comes back from an injury, people kind of don’t expect them to make another leap in the second year. I’m just happy for him. He’s exactly who we thought he was,” Bosa told reporters on Sunday.
“You definitely need to prove people wrong and show that you’re the same player,” Bosa added. “I’m just happy he got an amazing recovery. I think it was quicker than anyone expected so he was able to get reps throughout the offseason. He’s definitely a good leader for us.”
Bosa did his part on Sunday with a couple of tackles in his return after a contract dispute throughout training camp. He signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension with the team on September 6.
How Brock Purdy Went From Mr. Irrelevant to Young Star
Purdy’s ascent began last season when he took over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, now with the Las Vegas Raiders, in December 2022. The 49ers entered the 2022 season originally with Trey Lance as the starter and Garoppolo as the backup.
The final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State, Purdy took off by leading the 49ers to a 35-7 victory over a Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers squad. Purdy won five-consecutive starts to end the regular season, and he led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game before his elbow injury.
San Francisco’s front office showed confidence in Purdy by letting Garoppolo go in free agency and trading Lance to the Dallas Cowboys.