The NFC crown wasn’t meant for the 49ers this season, and it will be Jalen hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for the title of “Super Bowl Champion”. Many NFL teams had 2022 seasons for the storybooks, but perhaps no story this year was bigger than that of Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant”, and its emergence.
From the 262nd draft pick to a third-string quarterback role, Purdy’s chances of making a splash in the NFL seemed nigh on impossible at the start of the season. But just months later, the 23-year-old found himself captain of one of the league’s most legendary franchises in the playoffs, making it all the way to the conference championship game.
Let’s take a closer look at Purdy’s emergence from “Mr. Irrelevant” to QB1.
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Where did Brock Purdy go to school?
Before Purdy was a Niner, he was first an Iowa State Cyclone.
In fact, Purdy rose to fame in Ames, just as he does now in San Francisco. Purdy entered the scene at Iowa State as the thirdsquarterback, in line for time in the field behind quarterbacks Kyle Kempt And Zeb Nolan.
The season opener, however, would shake things up. Kempt suffered an injury at MCL against Iowa, returning Nolan to the signalman role. Nolan, however, would see a tough three-game stretch, forcing the ISU coach matt campbell to give freshman Purdy an opportunity.
Purdy would take this opportunity and run with it. He first came on the scene mid-game against Oklahoma State, leading the Cyclones to a thrilling win over the Cowboys as they edged them, 48-42. Purdy was now the Iowa state man.
During his four-year career, Purdy was quite simply a winner. He ended his time at Ames as the Iowa State career leader in passing yards (12,170), total offense (13,347), touchdown passes (81), completions (993), efficiency assists (151.1) and completion percentage (67.7). The wide-eyed rookie with an opportunity became the winningest quarterback in Cyclones history (30-17).
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Interestingly enough, the NFC Championship wasn’t the first time Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy faced off. The Cyclones played the Oklahoma State Sooners in November 2019.
As the senior Hurts and his offense quickly whittled down Iowa State’s defense, Purdy would charge his team to come back from a 35-14 halftime deficit. Purdy led an epic resurgence coming out of the locker room, beating the Sooners 27-7. A shrewd drive from the second to the end of the fourth resulted in a 33-yard touchdown for Sean Shaw Jr.reducing the deficit to 42-35 with three minutes remaining.
On the ensuing drive, Hurts made a disastrous mistake by throwing a pass into traffic that was intercepted by Laurent Blanc. With the ball at Oklahoma 35, Purdy couldn’t be stopped, making a few impressive plays before connecting with Charlie Kolar in the end zone.
The scoreboard now showed 42-41, and the Cyclones wanted to end the game on the spot. Purdy backed up for the two-point conversion, throwing a dart at La’Michael Pettway. The pass hit Pettway’s hands, but was then pushed back by Oklahoma defenders. Although the epic comeback could not be completed, it was a memorable match.
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When was Brock Purdy drafted?
Brock Purdy found a home in San Francisco on Saturday April 30 when he was selected by the 49ers as the 262nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. As Melanie Salata brandished the “irrelevant” Mr. Jersey on the NFL Draft scene, no one knew the name on the back of it would become relevant so quickly.
The seventh-round pick had been passed over by nearly every NFL team except one. Not even the 49ers knew this selection would be such a big deal, as Purdy simply had to be a third-string rookie sitting behind the starter. Trey Lance and backup Nate Sudfield.
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How did Brock Purdy fare as an NFL starter?
San Francisco’s plan at the start of the season would be thrown out the door very quickly. The 49ers made the decision in late August to keep the veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and releases Sudfeld, allowing Purdy to remain in his third-string role.
When Lance suffered a crushing injury against the Seahawks in only the second game of the season, it seemed clear that Garoppolo was destined to lead the team to its third playoff appearance in four years. Garoppolo would go 6-3 in his next nine starts, again making Super Bowl aspirations very real for the team that lost the big game three years prior.
In a critical battle against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, however, that vision faded. Garoppolo broke his foot in the last game of the team’s opening training, and “Mr. Irrelevant” was now QB1.
Purdy’s first drive of the game ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass to the back Kyle Juszczyk to give San Francisco a 10-7 lead. As he did with his starting role at Iowa State, Purdy hasn’t looked back yet.
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He led the team to a 33-17 victory over Miami, finishing the day 25 for 37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His starting debut came the following week, against none other than the great Tom Brady.
The rookie cruised through Tampa Bay, becoming the first quarterback to defeat Brady in his first start. The game ended with an emotional hug from his father, who had watched his son defeat a quarterback who has been playing professional football longer than Brock has been alive.
Purdy has yet to lose a game in the NFL. Since taking over in Week 13, “Mr. Irrelevant” has gone 7-0, with a overtime win and two playoff wins. While many thought the rookie would crumble under playoff pressure, he has yet to let his team down. In the 49ers wild card battle against their division nemesis the Seattle Seahawks, Purdy became the first NFL rookie to score four touchdowns in a playoff game. Although the divisional round success against Dallas wasn’t the sweetest of wins, Purdy got the job done, advance your team to the NFC Championship for the second consecutive year.
The conference championship game, however, was nothing short of a nightmare for the young QB. In the 49ers’ sixth offensive game, Purdy suffered a torn UCL ligament after his throwing arm was hit by Eagles DE Haason Reddick. As Purdy was forced back into action late in the game due to a fourth-string QB injury Josh Johnson, the 23-year-old was virtually unable to kick the ball. His Super Bowl dreams were dashed, as the 49ers were outshot 31-7.
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