By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
Brock Purdy has passed every test he’s faced so far in his remarkable rookie season.
Coming off the bench with no reps after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt. Matching up against an all-time great like Tom Brady. His first road start in an intimidating stadium in Seattle. Coming from behind against the Raiders.
Next up for Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers is his first playoff game on Saturday against the Seahawks.
“I’m not trying to make it bigger than what it is,” Purdy said Wednesday. “Obviously, there’s more on the line and everything. But I think having six games under my belt in terms of just playing in an NFL game and trying to win for four quarters has helped me get to this point. And all the guys in the locker room have my back. We’ve all grown together, so we’re ready for what’s ahead.”
Purdy’s journey from being “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in the NFL to perhaps the most important player on a Super Bowl contender has been an improbable one.
Purdy keeps reaching new milestones in every start as he piles up touchdown passes and wins, putting him in company with some heralded quarterbacks from the past.
Purdy is the first rookie QB since Ben Roethlisberger to win his first five starts, joined Justin Herbert as the only rookie QBs to throw multiple touchdown passes in at least six straight games and has posted a 119 passer rating in his first five starts for the second best mark for the second best mark for any quarterback in the Super Bowl era behind the 131.4 for Hall of Famer Kurt Warner.
With a win on Saturday, Purdy will be the first rookie quarterback drafted after the first round to win a playoff game since third-rounder Russell Wilson did it for Seattle in 2012.
“I feel like I’ll do a lot of reflecting after the season,” Purdy said. “Right now, I’m looking at it like, man, we got the Seahawks. Yes, it’s playoffs, but for myself it’s, I have to do my job. I’m not trying to think about this storybook ending or anything like that. It’s, man, I have a great defense I have to play. I have to do my job in terms of getting the guys the ball and all that will fall into place, but definitely thankful for everything that has happened. We still have a ways to go.”
The Niners players have long stopped looking at Purdy as an untested rookie as his play and demeanor are like that of a veteran.
Purdy showed flashes of that in training camp when he won a competition with Nate Sudfeld for a roster spot and it has only grown as he has gotten to play.
“As soon as he got into the game he was our guy,” right tackle Mike McGlinchey said. “No matter whether you’re a rookie, a five-year vet, a 10-year vet, it doesn’t matter, you’re the starting quarterback and you have to do the starting quarterback’s job. That’s what he’s done to an unbelievable degree.”
Along with playing his first playoff game, Purdy has another first as he goes up against the same opponent for a second time.
Purdy went 17 for 26 for 217 yards, two TDs and no turnovers in a 21-13 win at Seattle last month despite getting no practice time during a short week of preparation because of injuries to his ribs and oblique.
While Purdy is healthier this time around, he knows the Seahawks might have some new wrinkles.
“I feel like I see something new almost every week, so obviously there’s six games of film out there on me,” he said. “There’s still things that I’m sure coordinators are going to try to dial up and everything and try to get me to do some something different. But for myself, I just try to stay grounded in what the progression is, what the read is.”
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