Months after surgery, 'faith-based' 49ers' Brock Purdy makes history in Week 1 win

Second-year QB joins teammates on field for prayer following 30-7 win over Steelers

Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on September 10, 2023, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers throws a pass in the first quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Acrisure Stadium on September 10, 2023, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. | Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

So much for “Mr. Irrelevant.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who suffered a UCL tear in the elbow of his right throwing arm in the last game of his rookie season in January, sent a message to the entire NFL after throwing for 220 yards and two touchdowns to lead his team to a 30-7 win over the Steelers. 

That message? The past is prologue. 

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"Once I hit that touchdown, I wasn't thinking surgery or anything like that, it was, 'Man, we're here to win, this is it, this is how we're gonna play,’” Purdy told reporters in a postgame press conference.

Pointing to what he called a "trust factor" among his teammates, Purdy praised his team’s performance and, as 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa put it, “shut some haters up” with his Week 1 display.

San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan called his starting QB “pretty steady” and credited Purdy’s faith with what drives him.

“He’s a very faith-based person. I think that gives him his foundation as much as anyone I’ve been around,” Shanahan said in the press conference. “He’s taken this whole off-season as good as you can. … He handles the pressure well and really doesn’t change. 

“I think that’s why the guys love him and I think that’s why he’ll continue to get better.”

After the game, Purdy joined several other players and team personnel at the 50-yard line for a moment of prayer.


With last Sunday’s performance, Purdy, who earned the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant” after he was the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, became the first QB in NFL history to win his first six career regular-season starts and throw at least two touchdown passes in each start.

He’s also been outspoken about his faith in Christ Jesus since his days at Iowa State, where he was named Big 12 True Freshman of the Year in 2018 and Second Team All Big 12 in 2019. 

With his success both in college and now in the NFL, Purdy has never neglected to point his fans to Jesus as the source of that success.

In January, amid the health setbacks that led the Niners to come up short in their 2022 postseason bid, Purdy said he tries to remember the words of Jesus when it comes to the fleeting highs and lows of life.

During an appearance on the Sports Spectrum podcast, Purdy pointed to Jesus’ warning in Mark 8:34: “Then Jesus called the crowd to Him along with His disciples, and He told them, ‘If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.’”

“I didn't want to grip onto this life of, ‘Oh my gosh, I'm in the NFL, I have a starting quarterback role, I'm, you know, I can't lose it,” he said. “I was reminded what Jesus had told us thousands of years ago in terms of don't try to hold on to your life, you're going to lose it, you know, and the world wants you to go this way or that way.

“The minute you have fame and if you're trying to chase status and money and all this kind of stuff, it's, you'll lose your life rather than, you know, denying yourself, picking up your cross, keeping my eyes on Jesus.”

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