SANTA CLARA – The last time Brock Purdy faced the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was his NFL debut last season as the starting quarterback for the 49ers.
It was a full-circle moment Sunday afternoon, when Purdy once again led his team to a 27-14 win over the Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium.
Burdy’s nerves rose again in that Week 14 matchup in the 2022 NFL season, but the pressure on himself to play a better game in 2023 will be greater. Even after completing 21 of 25 attempts for 333 yards, three touchdowns and a perfect passer rating Sunday, there’s still plenty of work to do.
“There are still a few plays I wish I could get back,” Purdy said after the game. “Not completely satisfied with it, but it was a great game, practice and play-calling with the guys around me. All of that.”
Purdy’s prowess in the passing game included wide receiver Brandon Ayuk completing five of his six attempts for 156 yards and a career-long 76-yard touchdown. Purdy’s previous career-long completion was a 74-yard touchdown pass to Tebow Samuels in the wild-card round of the 2022 NFL playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks.
Ayuk’s previous career best was a 54-yard reception by Brock Birdie in Week 16 of the 2022 season during a win over the Washington Commanders. After Sunday’s win, Whiteout believes not much has changed in his quarterback since last year’s first start against Tampa Bay.
“I’ve always gotten the same feeling from him, the same energy from him,” Ayuk said. “Not a player anyway.”
Christian McCaffrey had a big role with 21 carries for 78 yards while catching all five of his targets for 25 yards and a touchdown. The All-Pro running back believes nothing shakes his quarterback.
“He’s been awesome every game he’s played,” McCaffrey said. “Relaxed, calm, collected and competitive, made some amazing plays. He’s always been the same guy. A competitor, a great leader and a bowler.”
McCaffrey and his quarterback are two peas in a pod striving for perfection. In a fourth-and-short situation late in the game, McCaffrey looked unbiased as he couldn’t help his team convert and failed to gain yardage.
When McCaffrey was told of Purdy’s perfect assessment, it was perhaps the need for that perfection.
“Dang, is he a perfect passer?” McCaffrey said. “It’s unbelievable. He’s a bowler. He’s a good defender too. It doesn’t shock me, but it’s interesting. I’m happy for him.
The 49ers face a tough three-game series next, starting with their Thanksgiving matchup against the NFC West-rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night. But for a while, Birdie would enjoy this success.