Whatever your opinion was of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy going into Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, it probably remains unchanged following the 49ers’ 24-21 win.
If you see him as a game-managing, system quarterback who is a product of the talent around him, you probably watched a sloppy, lackluster performance for three-and-a-half quarters where he missed throws and struggled to move the ball as soon as wide receiver Deebo Samuel left the game. That is to say nothing of a potential pick-six that was simply dropped early in the game.
If you see him as a franchise quarterback, an MVP-caliber player and a “winner,” you watched him shake off some early struggles and put together the most important drive of the game with the 49ers’ season on the line. That’s a winner move, and what separates the good players from the great players — especially on the biggest stage.
Both sides have their opinion on Purdy, and both will see Saturday’s game as a defining moment for their argument.
They both have good reason to do so. That is the beauty — and sometimes madness — of sports. A lot of the debate simply comes down to what you believe going into the game and what you want to believe after the fact.
The reality is that Purdy’s final stat line (23-for-39, 252 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions) is fairly pedestrian. A better quarterback would have easily made more plays and not required the game to come down to a drive at the end of the fourth quarter.
It ultimately comes down to perception. If he had been a first-round pick on a previously bad team putting up those numbers, he would simply be living up to expectations and the focal point of a team’s turnaround. But because he was the last pick in his draft class, never expected to be a starter and was joining a roster that is arguably the most talented team in the NFL, he is seen more as a passenger.
Just about the only thing that will end the debate is if Purdy leads the 49ers to a Super Bowl. Even then there still might be a segment of doubters.