Brock Purdy makes his first-career NFL start on Sunday as Buccaneers’ quarterback Tom Brady will be making start No. 329. The 6-6 Buccaneers enter Sunday following a Monday night win over the Saints where Brady led a 13-point fourth-quarter comeback en route to the victory. These are the five players to watch are the 49ers look to extending their win streak to six:
QB Brock Purdy
The 22-year-old will make his first career start on Sunday against 45-year-old Tom Brady, who made his first career NFL appearance when Purdy was less than a year old. Purdy played well last week, completing 25 of his 37 attempts for 210 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the 49ers' win over Miami.
With the 49ers' quarterback situation, Purdy will be the player to watch from here on out as he navigates the start of his career in the middle of a Super Bowl push.
RB Jordan Mason
After his Week 13 performance against Miami, it’s safe to say that Mason is going to be the 49ers' second running back going forward. Mason had eight rushing attempts for 51 yards, with only Christian McCaffrey seeing more carries than the rookie.
Even though he played on 18 percent of the 49ers' snaps last week, he saw a touch on just more than half of the plays he was in, averaging 6.38 yards per attempt. Mason has impressed in his small sample and will try to continue his good form against Tampa Bay’s 18th-ranked run defense.
CB Deommodore Lenoir
Lenoir recorded his first career interception against the Dolphins last week, intercepting a third-quarter pass from Tua Tagovailoa. He’s been impressive since getting moved from the slot to the outside back in Week 6, allowing 12 receptions on 23 targets for 196 yards, and has yet to allow a touchdown.
Sunday will feature a tough test for Lenoir as he’ll likely see plenty of chances against Mike Evans as the Buccaneers receiver has a near 50/50 split on which side he lines up on.
DE Nick Bosa
Bosa was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after his three-sack performance on Sunday against the Dolphins. His sack total matched what he had from the entire month of November, where he was named the NFC Player of the Month.
The Buccaneers offensive line has allowed only 18 sacks this season, second-fewest behind only the Cowboys, who have allowed 15. Left tackle Donovan Smith has struggled of late, however, allowing nine of his 24 pressures on the season over the last two weeks. A struggling Smith against a surging Bosa could spell disaster for Brady.
DC DeMeco Ryans
It’s not often a non-player makes this list, but Sunday will feature a unique challenge for Ryans against Brady. Ryans faced Brady three times over the course of his playing career but will get his first crack at the quarterback as a defensive coordinator.
Ryans excels at adjustments, especially in the second half, where the 49ers' defense has only allowed seven points in their last five games. Brady, however, for lack of better terms, is Tom Brady.
It doesn’t matter how poorly he’s playing; if the game is within two scores in the fourth quarter, Brady will turn it on, as shown on Monday night against the Saints. If the game is close in the fourth quarter on Sunday, Ryans will likely face his toughest test as a defensive coordinator in Brady.