San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy completed 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards, and threw two touchdown passes as his side began the new NFL season with an impressive 30-7 win on the road at the Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Updated: 11/09/23 2:40am
Nick Bosa summed it up succinctly as the San Francisco 49ers opened their 2023 NFL season with an impressive 30-7 win on the road at the Pittsburgh Steelers: “Purdy shut some haters up.”
Brock Purdy, the 23-year-old quarterback who shook off the ‘Mr Irrelevant’ tag given to the last pick of the draft each year in spectacular style after being thrust into action in Week 13 last season, faced plenty of questions heading into Sunday’s clash at Acrisure Stadium.
Were last year’s performances a fluke? Would he still be feeling the effects of off-season surgery on his right elbow? Is he really capable of joining icons Joe Montana and Steve Young in leading the 49ers to Super Bowl glory?
Completing 19 of 29 passes for 220 yards, and throwing two touchdown passes to Brandon Aiyuk to help trounce the Steelers on their home turf emphatically answered the first two of those. The third is still to be determined, but as far as his 49ers team-mates are concerned their young signal-caller is going the right way towards ticking that one off as well.
“[I was] always impressed, he showed up,” San Francisco tight end George Kittle told Sky Sports, reflecting on Purdy’s commanding display in Pittsburgh.
“The best thing about Purdy is he’s got this confidence and demeanour about him that he’s just the guy, and you’ve got to appreciate that about him.
“He comes in the huddle, gets everybody’s attention, gets everybody clicking and he does a really good job of that.
“[I’m] very happy for him and the Niners.”
The high regard Purdy has already come to be held in by his 49ers team-mates was evidenced ahead of the 2023 season kicking off when he was one of six players to be voted as a team captain.
Trent Williams, one of the players charged with protecting the quarterback in the offensive line, is in no doubt he has shown all the necessary attributes to excel.
“You see we voted him team captain,” offensive tackle Williams told Sky Sports. “You saw him play today – you couldn’t tell her was hurt.
“[I’m] proud of Brock, [he] took everything in stride and become our leader and a quarterback we can lead on.”
By contrast, Purdy’s opposite number Kenny Pickett endured a nightmare game which saw him sacked five times and throw two interceptions, albeit passing for 232 yards and throwing one for a touchdown as well.
With Purdy and running back Christian McCaffrey, who scored a touchdown while rushing for 152 yards on 22 carries, leading the offense, San Francisco’s defense came to the fore as well to silence a usually raucous Pittsburgh home crowd.
“It’s wonderful,” Kittle said. “Sometimes I don’t know what’s better – winning in your front of your home crowd and the whole stadium is exploding or it being quiet and your fans cheering on the road.
“What a game by our offense, played so well in the first half, and our defense played so well in the first half.
“When it looked like it might get a little leaky, we stepped on it, and it was really fun.”
Schecter’s praise for ‘brilliant’ Purdy
Sky Sports NFL expert Phoebe Schecter was full of praise for Purdy’s display against the Steelers as the 49ers quarterback carried on where he left off last season.
“He was brilliant, and you look at him last year, in the games he won he had a 95 per cent completion rate,” Schecter said.
“He carried that out today. He said that was not a fluke and ‘this is who I am’.
“He’s kind of that quarterback [49ers head coach] Kyle Shanahan always wanted in his system.”
Schecter was impressed by the manner in which San Francisco, backed by significant travelling support, overcame the Steelers on their home turf as well.
“The better team, the more consistent team won,” Schecter said.
“They sent a message, they were consistent on offense, defense, special teams.
“You don’t normally see this level of maturity in a team until later in the season.”