As you already know, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy had himself a year. He threw a perfect game, surpassed Jeff Garcia, Joe Montana, and Steve Young in passing yards with 4280 yards, and led the league in just about every stat made for the position at some point in the season.
Let’s go back to those passing stats. Brock Purdy finished with 4280 yards passing. Not too shabby, but putting him at No. 5 in the league for 2023:
Your regular season passing yards leaders pic.twitter.com/DtD4oGD9iQ— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 9, 2024
As always, some things need context, and perhaps he needs an asterisk next to his name. Brock Purdy is fifth on that chart, and he has only started 16 games. As you know, he only started 16 games because the 49ers locked up the No. 1 seed and a bye in Week 17 with no need to play in Week 18. He was also pulled severalof those games early-midway into the fourth quarter for Sam Darnold when the game was out of reach.
So the question is, would Purdy have finished at No. 1 had he played all 17 games? Remember that his final 2023 opponent was the Los Angeles Rams, a team he managed 206 yards on in Week 2.
Getting to No. 4 is a no-brainer. Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen was only 26 yards ahead of Purdy. We all can agree that it would be doable if Purdy played in Week 18.
At No. 3 is Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. This is where we can speculate. Purdy would have needed 237 yards to pass him, but it would have been the Rams defense. It's probably doable since the 49ers are at home, but it depends on the game plan.
No. 2 and No. 1 are Jared Goff and Tua Tagovailoa, respectively. Sorry, but there’s no way Purdy is getting there against the Rams.
So, looking at this, it’s believable that Purdy would have finished No. 3 in passing yards for the year if he had another game to play. But maybe you can crunch mathematics, go full homer (highly encouraged on this site), and do whatever else to see where he would have finished had he had a 17th game.
And this is all if he played in Week 17. It’s worth stressing that there were a lot of yards left on the field when he was pulled early since the 49ers'offense was mollywhopping teams all over the field.
That team passing record for the 49ers was going to be broken eventually. It was a foregone conclusion after the league switched to a 17-game season. All sorts of records have an easier chance of being busted. The incredible thing is Purdy did all that in 16 games, and still made the Top 5. Kind of legitimizes the record in a way.
OK, I know you don’t care about any of this since it’s Day 2 of Wild Card Weekend. I got some Brock Purdy touchdown highlights below—all the touchdowns of Week 17. Enjoy!