For the third time in four years, the San Francisco 49ers have found themselves in the NFC Championship game. This year has been a bit different, however, as the 49ers used a third-string quarterback -- a rookie third-string quarterback -- to get there. Brock Purdy was taken by the 49ers with the very last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and general manager John Lynch couldn't be more happy he took a flier on the signal-caller from Iowa State.
Purdy has gone a perfect 7-0 as the starter this season after replacing Jimmy Garoppolo, who replaced Trey Lance. The rookie has thrown 14 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions in those seven starts, and is averaging just over 234 passing yards per game. Now comes his toughest test in the form of the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles have the second-highest pressure rate in the NFL this season, and have also recorded the most sacks with 75. The Minnesota Vikings defense made Daniel Jones look like a rising star in the league on Super Wild Card Weekend, but then the Eagles defense quickly halted that narrative by holding him to just 135 passing yards and one interception in a 31-point blowout of the New York Giants last weekend. Purdy will also have to go toe-to-toe with the talented Jalen Hurts. The last time these two faced off back in 2019, they combined for 11 touchdowns!
Per CBS Sports Research, Purdy will become the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference title game. How did the other four fare? Let's take a look.
|Player||Completion%||Passing yards||Passing TDs||INTs||Final result|
Shaun King, Buccaneers (1999)
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (2004)
Joe Flacco, Ravens (2008)
Mark Sanchez, Jets (2009)
As you can see, these four quarterbacks combined for four passing touchdowns and nine interceptions. Additionally, all four lost. This is not exactly the kind of history 49ers fans probably want to see, but there's reason to believe Purdy can snap the rookie losing streak.
For one, the 49ers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL, and DeMeco Ryan's unit serves as the strong backbone for this team. That's not to say the offense is subpar, however. With weapons like George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Christian McCaffrey and Brandon Aiyuk working under the mind of Kyle Shanahan, this offense has proven it can be one of the most dangerous in the league. The other thing is that the 49ers aren't winning despite Purdy. He's been a legitimate part of their success. Since he took over, the 49ers have averaged 32.5 points per game. That would rank No. 1 in the league if San Francisco maintained that pace all year.