Brock Purdy shoulders blame for 49ers three-game skid

Oct 30, 2023, 11:22 AM | Updated: 11:49 am

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass during the fourth quarter of the game agai...

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The San Francisco 49ers find themselves in a 0-3 hole entering their bye week, and that’s partially due to the play of Brock Purdy.

The second-year sensation has regressed a bit in the last few weeks, throwing five interceptions in three games. For context, Purdy only threw four INTs in his first 10 regular-season starts. Another problem is that those turnovers have come at the most inopportune times, mostly in the fourth quarter.

Week 8 was no different, leading the Red & Gold on a nine-play drive to close out the third quarter. At that time, the 49ers trailed the Cincinnati Bengals, 17-10. After picking up several first downs on the day, Purdy and Co. found themselves in the red zone to even things up.

And then disaster struck.

The offense ran an option play where the QB either hands it off or throws a shovel pass to tight end George Kittle. Purdy decided to do neither of those, instead trying to force the issue to running back Elijah Mitchell in the back of the endzone.

The result: A deflected pass by linebacker Germaine Pratt, falling into the hands of the defender for the easy INT.

Purdy and the offense caught a break, however, with the 49ers defense forcing a punt by the Bengals after four plays. Still in the contest, all the offense needed to do was drive down the field and punch it in.

But disaster struck again.

The first play of the drive, Purdy fired a strike to wide receiver Jauan Jennings over the middle. Throwing into double coverage, LB Logan Wilson read the play and picked the ball out of the air, getting his side into the red zone. The next play, a 17-yard touchdown pass to make it a two-score game.

After staying hot for almost a calendar year, Purdy has come back to earth a bit. He finished Week 8 with 365 passing yards, one TD and two INTs. That trend has carried since the Cleveland game in Week 6, throwing three TDs total in that timeframe.

And while it isn’t all on Purdy to keep the 49ers afloat, he sure feels it is, taking his Week 8 performance pretty hard.

“Yeah, obviously I want to be better for this team, for this organization. Just taking care of the ball in some crucial parts of the games. That’s the NFL, man. When it comes down to it, you’re not going to just blow teams out every week. You take care of the ball and you have to play good team football and that’s where I’m at with that,” Brock Purdy said postgame Sunday.

But while most young QBs would slump their shoulders, Purdy stands tall through the fire. He did so in the contest as well, leading the 49ers on a 10-play drive for six after his two turnovers.

Point being: Yes, the young gunslinger needs to stop trying to do too much. But his demeanor of staying even-keeled in big moments is why he’s entering the bye week with his head held high.

“Yeah, you have three losses and as a quarterback you take a lot. I take that on myself where I could be better for this team and helping us win. But who I am and what I stand for, that doesn’t change,” Purdy stated. “Everyone can say what they want, but I know who I am as a person and my faith, my relationship with God is the most important and I’m going to continue to rely on that. It’s gotten me to this point in my life and I’ll always be with God and stand firm with God. So, I know he’ll take care of me regardless.”

And the rest of the team feels the same as well, not worried about Purdy in the slightest.

His head coach was actually impressed with his play up to that point, making throws that kept the 49ers within striking distance of Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ potent offense.

“He made some bad picks there at the end. I thought he was one of the reasons we were in the game today. Some of those throws he made out there were unbelievable,” Kyle Shanahan said about Purdy Sunday. “The mistake in the red zone, missing the handoff was the biggest part. And then once you do that, you can’t throw it or you’re going to get the penalty, but worse that he got the pick. He was aggressive, thought the MIKE [LB] was going to pass on that second pick and the MIKE fell off right with Jauan. So, just got to see it.”

While the two picks stick out like a sore thumb, Purdy finished with over 350 passing yards on 70% completion, showing he had a prolific day through the first 40 minutes of the contest for the 49ers. He ended up with 24 first downs on the day, leading four drives of more than seven plays in Week 8.

It’s all conjecture at this point and that is understandable. But the 49ers’ woes aren’t all on the QB, and the rest of the team knows that.

“The quarterback is always going to receive the brunt of the criticism. But Brock is the least of my worries,” LB Fred Warner said Sunday. “Brock is made of the right stuff. Can he protect the ball better? Sure. But he’s the reason why we have a chance to win games in every single game we’re in.”

The defensive captain doubled down after that, putting the blame on himself and his unit more so than the offense.

“The common denominator right now is that I haven’t been able to say in the last three losses that the defense had our best outing and we just happened to lose. We’re not playing good football on our side. That’s the reason why we haven’t won the last three games,” he stated.

But in typical Purdy fashion, the QB will take the loss firmly on his shoulders, looking forward to the bye week to get the 49ers offense right.

“I mean it’s just finishing drives,” Brock Purdy said. “We will get the ball moving and we will start rolling, get first downs and then there’s just some third downs that we have to convert and be better at. Especially down in the red zone, there’s points to be put up for us and whether that’s a field goal or converting a third down and continuing the drive to score, it’s as simple as that. We’re just handcuffing ourselves with certain plays and that’s really what it is. But, we’ll move the ball and feel good about it, but we just have to continue to finish those drives. It’s as simple as that.”

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 PM PST
  • Thursday, November 23rd @ Seattle Seahawks – 5:20 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 3rd @ Philadelphia Eagles – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, December 10th vs. Seattle Seahawks – 1:05 PM PST

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