SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP)Brock Purdy finds himself in an usual spot.
For the first time in his short NFL career, Purdy will need to bounce back from a poor performance and a loss when the San Francisco 49ers visit the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
Purdy had won his first 10 career regular-season starts before struggling last week in a 19-17 loss at Cleveland. He said it was tough to deal with the defeat for a couple of days, but once the team returned to practice on Thursday it was easy to move on to the game against the Vikings.
“It’s not like college where you lose a game and every game in college is so huge and crucial,” he said Friday. “It is in the NFL, but that one game can determine your season in college. With this, we lost but we have a lot to look forward to.”
Purdy had faced little adversity since taking over as San Francisco’s quarterback late last season. He went 5-0 as a starter to end that regular season and then won his first two playoff games.
He injured his elbow early in an NFC title game loss at Philadelphia but picked up at a high level again to start this season, winning his first five starts behind a league-leading 123.1 passer rating.
In all, Purdy was tied for the second-longest winning streak to begin an NFL career and had posted a rating of at least 90 in all of those starts. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers are the only QBs since the merger who have won more consecutive starts with a rating that high.
“This is the first time responding to a loss, but … if we would’ve won in the last play of the game, he’d still have to respond the same way,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “So, it’s him just doing his job and coming in here and being the same way he has been since the day we’ve met him. I don’t think we’re stressed about that too much because I’ve never seen a different guy.”
Purdy struggled against the Browns, going 12 for 27 for 125 yards with one TD and his first interception of the season. But he also engineered a late drive that had the 49ers in position for a game-winning field goal that rookie Jake Moody missed from 41 yards out.
Cleveland provided the toughest defensive test yet for Purdy, but the Vikings will offer a different challenge. Minnesota blitzes at the highest rate in the league under coordinator Brian Flores.
The Vikings have sent five or more rushers on 60.5% percent of passing plays they’ve faced this season, the most by any NFL team since Sportradar began tracking blitzes in 2007.
Purdy had good success against another blitz-happy defense in Week 3 when the Giants blitzed on 69.2% of his passing plays, per Sportradar. Purdy went 16 for 25 for 233 yards and two touchdowns against blitzes in that game.
He said the Vikings’ system is more similar to what he faced in his first extensive experience as a rookie when he replaced an injured Jimmy Garoppolo in the first quarter last season against a Miami team that ran a similar scheme to the one Flores uses.
Purdy struggled a bit against the pressure in that game but feels better prepared for the challenge this week.
“Obviously they love to bring the whole house and all the zero looks that they have and being able to bluff out of that,” he said. “They do a really good job of bracketing stuff and sort of just anticipating what teams are going to try to do.”
NOTES: RB Christian McCaffrey (oblique) worked out on a side field but didn’t practice. WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and LT Trent Williams (ankle) also missed a second straight practice. All three are day to day. … LB Dre Greenlaw (hamstring) and LG Aaron Banks (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis.
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