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Add Hall of Famer Joe Montana to the list of people who believe rookie quarterback Brock Purdy can guide the San Francisco 49ers to Super Bowl LVII.
“You know what, if he does what he did last week, yeah,” Montana told Josh Peter of USA Today about Purdy. “As he becomes a starter at this point in time, he just has to not try to overthink things. Just go in and you don’t have to make plays. You’ve got guys on the outside that can make plays. So just relax.”
Purdy began the season as “Mr. Irrelevant” for being the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft and as an inactive spectator but was called into action after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a serious foot injury in this past Sunday’s win over the Miami Dolphins. The 22-year-old completed 25-of-37 passes for 210 yards with two touchdowns and one interception versus Miami. He will start when the 8-4 49ers host Tom Brady and the 6-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday.
Earlier this week, 49ers linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw both publicly declared those in the locker room have faith in Purdy’s abilities to win the biggest games left on the schedule through February. Montana followed in their footsteps.
“‘Mr. Irrelevant’ was pretty relevant last weekend,” Montana added during the conversation. “I think they’ve got a chance. I mean, their defense is playing well. When you’ve got a good defense, you can make (up for) a lot of mistakes on offense and those guys have a tendency to make it up for you.”
Per ESPN stats, the San Francisco defense ranks first in average yards allowed per game (283.9) and average points surrendered per contest (15.8). Montana was quick to point out, though, that such figures won’t matter if the San Francisco coaching staff doesn’t work to prevent Purdy from making avoidable mistakes.
“Don’t put the young guy in a position where he has to feel like, ‘Oh, I got to force one,'” Montana remarked. “Let him punt the ball, especially early. Just get himself in a rhythm and that offense does that for you.”
Garoppolo could possibly return to the lineup during the playoffs, but the 49ers are seemingly Purdy’s team through at least Week 18. San Francisco did not try to claim Baker Mayfield after he was waived by the Carolina Panthers and instead will “rock with Brock” and with journeyman Josh Johnson as a backup.
49ers Week 1 starter Trey Lance was lost to a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.