Summer 2024

QB Brock Purdy making NFL history as he leads surging 49ers with his eyes fixed on Jesus

In a much-anticipated matchup, the San Francisco 49ers staked their claim as the best team in the NFC by soundly defeating the Eagles, 42-19, in Philadelphia on Sunday. San Francisco scored more points against the Eagles than Philadelphia had allowed in a game all season, including 28 in the second half alone.

The 49ers (9-3) are now just a game behind the Eagles (10-2) in the race for the NFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

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Behind San Francisco’s offensive explosion is second-year quarterback Brock Purdy, who completed 19 of 27 passes for 314 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions — good for an impressive 148.8 passer rating, one of numerous NFL categories in which Purdy leads.

“That’s the Niner football that we know,” Purdy said in his postgame press conference. “That’s the offense that we know, when everyone’s doing their part, when everything’s clicking, obviously some great play calls, and then everyone just makes plays and does it the right way. … That’s what we expect out of ourselves.”

Sunday’s game was the first that Purdy and his team had played in Philadelphia since last January’s NFC championship game. Purdy sustained a UCL tear in his right throwing elbow early in that game and was taken out, but once his backup, Josh Johnson, suffered a concussion, Purdy re-entered. However, his injury rendered him almost entirely incapable of throwing (he only threw two more passes) and the Eagles won, 31-7, to advance to the Super Bowl.

“[Returning to the site of my injury] was sort of on my mind, yeah,” Purdy admitted Sunday. “I got hurt here. That was this year, late in January. But was it gonna be the revenge game or anything like that? No.”

Just two weeks before Sunday’s game, in San Francisco’s 27-14 win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Purdy registered a “perfect” passer rating of 158.3 by completing 21 of 25 passes for 333 yards, three TDs and no picks. A passer rating of 158.3 is as high as the statistic will go.

According to the NFL, Purdy’s four games this season with at least three touchdown passes and a passer rating of at least 140 are tied only with greats Tom Brady (2007) and Aaron Rodgers (2011) for the most by a quarterback in a single season in NFL history. What’s more, the 23-year-old’s five career games with a passer rating of at least 140 is the most by a player in his first two seasons in NFL history. And, he still has five games to go in this campaign.

Many didn’t expect Purdy to have the type of success he’s had in his first two NFL seasons, deemed an afterthought coming out of Iowa State in the 2022 draft. Yet, the 49ers took a chance on him with the very last pick, making him last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”

Soon however, due to injuries to the quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart, “Mr. Irrelevant” got his opportunity and never looked back. He became San Francisco’s starter in Week 13 last season, finishing the year with 13 touchdowns and only four interceptions, and, more importantly, not losing a game.

Through his wild football ride from Iowa State to San Francisco, Purdy has remained outspoken about his faith in Christ.

Purdy describes himself as a “believer in Christ” in his X bio and a “follower of Jesus” on Instagram, and was on the Sports Spectrum Podcast both in February of this year and in 2021 when he was still at Iowa State. Most recently, he was featured in the Fall 2023 edition of Sports Spectrum Magazine.

God is faithful,” Purdy told Sports Spectrum as he reflected on God’s kindness to him. “He’s never done with a story, even when you think He is.”

 

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Purdy said his trust in the unchanging character of God and thankfulness to Him helped sustained him during the months of recovery from his injury. God was faithful to give him new life through the work of Jesus on the cross; what is a UCL tear in comparison?

“I believe that Jesus Christ did come down, and died for my sins and rose again, and He is living and sitting beside God (the Father) on the throne,” Purdy told Sports Spectrum in February. “And so I believe that. It’s not just some story fairytale thing. It’s real. And it allows me to stay level-headed and real with life.”

Despite the attention that has come his way as a rising NFL star, Purdy knows that chasing the things of this world is ultimately a vain pursuit.

“The minute you have fame, and if you’re trying to chase status and money and all this stuff, you’ll lose your life — rather than denying yourself, picking up your cross, keeping your eyes on Jesus and His promises,” he told Sports Spectrum. “Through that, that’s life, and that’s a life worth living.”

With his eyes fixed on Jesus, Purdy and his teammates will seek to finish the regular season strong and keep pace with the Eagles for the NFC’s No. 1 seed. Up next for the 49ers is a home game against the division-rival Seattle Seahawks (6-6) on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET. San Francisco will be going for its fifth consecutive win.

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