Brock Purdy has played starter snaps in eight games now. You can tell, especially as games go on, that Purdy gets more and more comfortable with how he can attack defenses and where to go with the football.
Purdy isn’t having to carry the 49ers' offense. But he’s doing a lot more than what you’d describe as a “game manager,” either.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan continues to put more and more on Purdy’s plate as the 49ers get deeper into the playoffs. I thought Shanahan’s aggressiveness at the end of the fourth quarter spoke volumes about his trust in the rookie quarterback.
When asked whether playcalling has gotten better or more fluid with Purdy since December, Shanahan had this to say:
“Yeah, I think he’s been pretty fluid from the beginning, but I mean it gets easier and easier each week. There’s lots of times that the headset will cut off and there’s a number of times we don’t have to use the timeout because he’s got a lot of those plays memorized anyways. I think he gets better at anticipating the calls that I’m going to do, so once he starts to hear a formation, I always finish it, but he’s already walking to the huddle, kind of finishing what I’m saying, so he was good from the beginning and he is only getting better at it.”
One of the knocks about the 49ers that I’ve heard this week is that they’ve only beaten one playoff team on the road. What that analysis ignores is San Francisco only played one playoff team.
Purdy’s first road start came in a raucous environment on a short week in Seattle. Shanahan spoke about how the 49ers could simulate the crowd noise this week and how critical it was for Purdy to play in those conditions:
“We’ll do the same thing we did that week. That was huge just because that was our first game really all year that it was that important and Brock hadn’t had experience with it and so it was great to have that, especially with us going to Philly. I remember I was talking about that that week that we needed that. We needed that rep in case we ended up in the NFC championship at Philly and we got that and very fortunate that we did. And I feel we’re good to go. He knows what to expect, he knows how we do it and we’ll give him reps at it all week, but he got it ready on just a Wednesday when he played Thursday, so I feel like won’t be an issue this week.”
On Wednesday, Deebo Samuel said he expected it to be loud but added “no stadium is as loud as ours.”
As Purdy has previously said, he has to hit his layups. That’s been the theme for 49ers quarterbacks under Kyle Shanahan since he’s been calling plays. The architecture of the offense produces advantageous matchups that leave wide receivers running open at every level of the field.
There was a significant improvement in Purdy’s play from the Seattle game to last week’s against the Cowboys. We’ll see how Shanahan and Purdy look for their ninth, but second on the road, against an Eagles defense that was fifth in EPA per play allowed and eighth in defensive success rate since Week 13.