NFL

No nerves for history-making 49ers rookie QB Purdy in playoff debut

By Sports Desk January 15, 2023

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel did not sense any nerves from rookie Brock Purdy in his playoff debut before throwing three touchdowns with a rushing score in Saturday's 41-23 Wild Card win over the Seattle Seahawks.

Purdy, dubbed Mr Irrelevant after being the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, stole the show at Levi's Stadium, becoming the first rookie QB to win a playoff game since Russell Wilson in 2012.

The 23-year-old quarterback finished 18-of-30 for 332 yards, becoming the youngest player in NFL history with 300-plus passing yards and three-plus touchdown passes in a postseason game, surpassing Dan Marino.

However, the game did not start so well for Purdy, whose first pass was almost intercepted in wet conditions, before starring in the second half after trailing 17-16 at halftime.

"I don't think there were any nerves at all," Samuel, who caught one of Purdy's three touchdown passes for a 74-yard score, told reporters.

"We kind of started off slow. We missed a couple here and there, but as the game slowed down and settled down for him, he knows the guys that he has around him to build him up.

"It started to slow down for him too in the second half and he went out there and played good ball."

Purdy, who had only been afforded his opportunity as the 49ers' starting QB due to injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, is now 6-0 as a starter.

"There was some emotion going into the game," Purdy said. "You could just feel it in the environment with the fans and our teammates like, this is win or go home.

"But once the game started, it was all, hey, it's 11-on-11, I've got to do my job. I've got to get it to the guys when they're in space and go from there. But we didn't make it more than what it was.

"You could feel it in the first half in terms of Seattle's playing really good football, it's playoff football, everyone plays their best football.

"I feel like that was just something that we had in the back of our minds too. But overall, it wasn't 'oh my gosh, we're in the playoffs, we got to get all tense or anything like that.' So we've just got to play our game and let everything else fall into place."

Purdy's 332 yards is the second most ever by a rookie in a postseason game, behind Wilson's 385 with the Seahawks against the Atlanta Falcons in 2013.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan added: "We just had to win the game and he's done a hell of a job. He's done it every time since. I have a lot of confidence in him."

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll remarked that Purdy's ability to keep plays alive made a major difference, finding Elijah Mitchell for a TD pass on a broken play in the fourth quarter.

"I don't know why we couldn't sack the guy," Carroll said. "We chased him all over the place. He's not noted for being the greatest scrambler, but he looked like Fran Tarkenton out there today."

Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James also took to Twitter to hail Purdy, writing: "Purdy got game!!!!!!!".

When told about the tweet, Purdy replied: "LeBron said that. Oh, that's sweet. That's awesome, that's so cool."

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