The San Francisco 49ers passed their first playoff test of the Brock Purdy Era with a dominating win against NFC West arch-rival Seattle Seahawks, 41-23, in a game that was a tale of two halves. In a game where the 49ers’ offense was in the spotlight, Brock Purdy showed why he is the quarterback the 49ers need in the playoffs. So, one question that looms is whether Brock Purdy is a game manager or a system quarterback.
Brock Purdy: System Quarterback?
In a game in gloomy and inclement weather, rain, and winds about twenty miles per hour, 49ers rookie seventh-round quarterback Brock Purdy shined in his first playoff game. Although the 49ers were down at halftime, 17-16, with Brock Purdy looking like a seventh-round rookie quarterback for the first time in a while, missing multiple open receivers in the first half, he was able to weather the storm and finish his first playoff game strong.
Brock Purdy’s stat line in his first playoff game was fantastic. He completed 18 passes out of 30 attempts for 332 yards, an 11-yard passing average, three passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown. In Brock Purdy’s first-ever playoff game, he made NFL history. According to Nick Wagener, ESPN 49ers Insider, Brock Purdy is the third rookie quarterback in NFL history with three passing touchdowns in a playoff game.
Brock Purdy is making plays on the field that only a few quarterbacks in the NFL can make or only dream of making in the playoffs. However, Brock Purdy looked different from a game manager or system quarterback in his first-ever playoff game.
Brock Purdy: Game Manager?
What is the definition of a game manager quarterback? A quarterback who is a game manager or a system quarterback doesn’t take any risks, runs the game plan to the coaches liking, and does not make any off-schedule plays. Many aspects of Brock Purdy style of play displays that he’s not a system quarterback or game manager quarterback. The essential element that makes him more than a game manager or system quarterback is his ability to extend broken plays with his legs and arm.
One play that stood out above the rest in Purdy’s first-ever playoff game as starting quarterback for the 49ers didn’t count. Late in the fourth quarter, with five minutes and thirteen seconds remaining in the game, San Francisco led Seattle comfortably, 38-17, and Brock Purdy made one of the most impressive plays any quarterback in the NFL could make on the field in the playoffs.
The 49ers were in the red zone on a 3rd down with ten yards to gain for a first down. They run a play action pass, Purdy rolls left, goes through his reads and progressions, doesn’t see anything open, dodges a defender in his face, goes to the opposite side of the field, escapes another Seahawks defender in his face, stops on a dime, and throws a perfect pass to Brandon Aiyuk in the right corner of the endzone. Aiyuk dropped the pass from Purdy, but it was late in the game, so it wasn’t a crucial drop.
System quarterbacks, or quarterbacks labeled game managers, do not make elusive plays like Brock Purdy has been making in his last seven games as the 49er’s starting quarterback. Purdy is in some rare air in the San Francisco 49ers organization in his previous six games.
Brock Purdy: Playmaker
Brock Purdy is the only rookie quarterback in NFL history to have four touchdowns in a playoff game. In addition, the twenty-three-year-old is the youngest player in NFL postseason history to have 300 passing yards and three passing touchdowns in a single postseason game. The most impressive stat in Brock Purdy’s first five starts as the starting quarterback of the 49ers is the number of touchdown passes he has thrown. According to the fox broadcast, Brock Purdy leads the 49ers organization with eleven total touchdown passes in his first five starts as a 49ers quarterback.
Purdy has more touchdown passes in his first five games as the starting quarterback in 49ers franchise history than Jimmy Garoppolo & hall of fame quarterback Joe Montana who both have six, and hall of fame quarterback Steve Young who has seven.
Purdy is in great company, and he’s only getting better with every game and every rep at practice. So no, Brock Purdy is not a system quarterback or a quarterback who is a game manager. It will be interesting to see how Purdy can encore his stellar performance from the wild card round to the divisional round. The 49ers will face off against the Dallas Cowboys in the divisional round of the playoffs on Sunday at 3:30 pst at Levi’s Stadium for a chance to play in the NFC Championship game.
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