Around 30 minutes after making history as the first San Francisco 49ers quarterback to attempt 20 or more passes and achieve a perfect 158.3 passer rating in a single game, Brock Purdy reflected on various thoughts. Initially, he took pride in securing his place in the record books alongside Joe Montana, the sole other Niners starter to attain a perfect rating with at least ten attempts, accomplished back in 1989. However, Purdy clarified that just because the passer rating doesn’t go any higher doesn’t mean he considers it a “perfect” game.
Furthermore, Purdy humbly redirected credit to his teammates and coaches for their contributions to his outstanding performance in San Francisco’s 27-14 triumph over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Expressing his gratitude, Purdy stated, “What an honor. But at the same time, I feel like there are still some plays and situations that I wish I could redo. So, I’m not entirely satisfied with just that, but I thought it was a great game with the guys around me, the coaching, and the playcalling – all of it. I think that’s a testament to the team, really.”
When asked about whether passer rating is a metric he and his fellow quarterbacks use to evaluate their play, Purdy responded with a grin, saying, “I still don’t even really know what it means.”
For the Niners, the outcome on Sunday meant securing a second consecutive victory, distancing themselves from the three-game losing streak that marred their October and propelling them to a 7-3 record with a one-game lead in the NFC West division. Purdy, in particular, may have delivered his best performance of the season, a notable achievement in a campaign where such claims have already been made multiple times.
In his 18th career start, almost a year after his inaugural NFL start against the same Bucs, Purdy, and the offense overcame a slow start on their opening drive. Yet, they rarely faltered thereafter, with Purdy completing 21 of 25 passes for 333 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions, culminating in the flawless 158.3 rating.
Purdy’s impact was evenly distributed between the halves but showcased in distinct ways. In the first half, he went 14-of-17 for 164 yards and a touchdown. During the second half, he maintained efficiency, going 7-of-8 for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a 77-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the early third quarter.
The majority of Purdy’s production came against the Bucs’ man coverage, where he threw for a career-high 210 yards and all three touchdowns. Notably, Purdy now leads the NFL this season with 16 passing touchdowns against man coverage.
Despite the impressive statistics, Purdy’s teammates have become accustomed to his stellar performances. Defensive end Nick Bosa remarked, “Perfect game? Wow. I’m never surprised anymore with him. He’s as good as it gets.”
In the last two games, Purdy has showcased a return to form reminiscent of the quarterback who propelled the Niners to a 5-0 start earlier in the season. Following a challenging three-game stretch against the Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings, and Cincinnati Bengals, where Purdy struggled against Cleveland, he rebounded impressively. Between the Jacksonville and Tampa Bay games, Purdy completed 40 of 51 passes, averaging 314.5 passing yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions, boasting an average of 12.3 yards per attempt.
While acknowledging the presence of critics, running back Christian McCaffrey noted, “There’s always going to be critics. He knows that. Everybody in here knows that, and I like it when he plays a little bit edgy with a chip on his shoulder. I kind of hope the critics just keep coming because it pisses him off, and he plays really well.”
Purdy attributes his resurgence to a mindset of being hard on himself, playing with a chip on his shoulder, and understanding that success in the NFL requires constant proving. Coach Kyle Shanahan expressed confidence in Purdy’s abilities, emphasizing that the quarterback was playing “unbelievable” even during the challenging streak.
Ten games into the season, Purdy’s motivation seems to be paying off. As of Sunday’s games, he leads the NFL in QBR (76.6), passer rating (109.9), yards per attempt (9.7), ranks third in completion percentage (70.2%), is tied for fifth in touchdown passes (18), and is sixth in passing yards per game (266.2). Notably, his five interceptions are tied for the second-fewest among starters.
Purdy’s 9.7 yards per attempt through 10 games rank as the second most in NFL history among players with a minimum of 250 attempts, placing him in esteemed company alongside Boomer Esiason in 1988 (9.8), Dan Marino in 1984 (9.7) and Aaron Rodgers in 2011 (9.6), all of whom went on to win the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
As Purdy continues to field questions about his abilities, perhaps the more fitting question is what he cannot do. Coach Shanahan playfully remarked, “I don’t know if he can run a 4.3 [second 40-yard dash]. But anything we’ve asked him to do, he’s done at a real high level.”