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Debunking the Myth: Brock Purdy's Success with the 49ers


The narrative surrounding Brock Purdy's success as the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers has been clouded by the belief that his numbers are merely a byproduct of the team's exceptional run-after-catch ability. This perception has led to the labeling of Purdy as a "system quarterback," a moniker often associated with quarterbacks who are perceived to thrive due to their team's offensive system rather than their individual talent. However, a closer examination reveals that this narrative does not accurately capture the full scope of Purdy's contributions and abilities.


The reputation of 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan as a mastermind in maximizing quarterbacks' potential has, in part, fueled the assumption that any quarterback under his guidance would be elevated to success. Additionally, the presence of highly talented playmakers such as Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk further adds to the perception that Purdy's success is primarily a result of his supporting cast. Furthermore, the 49ers led the league in yards after the catch this season, averaging 6.5 yards per reception, further reinforcing the notion that Purdy's statistics are inflated by the team's exceptional run-after-catch ability.



However, it's essential to debunk this myth by examining the underlying facts. While it is undeniable that the 49ers possess exceptional run-after-catch ability and that Shanahan excels at scheming plays to maximize it, it is inaccurate to assert that Purdy is disproportionately reliant on this aspect compared to other quarterbacks. The team's ranking of sixth in the league in receiving yards (4,577) and fourth in yards after the catch (2,189) underscores their proficiency in generating yards after the catch, accounting for 47.8% of their total receiving yards. To provide context, the Kansas City Chiefs, a team renowned for their explosive passing offense, generate a higher percentage of their receiving yards after the catch at 61.1%. This raises the question: Is Patrick Mahomes also merely a product of a system?


Moreover, statistical metrics such as Total QBR, which directly measures a quarterback's contribution to plays that aid the team's success, further highlight Purdy's impact. His Total QBR of 72.8 was the highest in the NFL this season, reflecting his substantial influence on the team's performance. Additionally, Purdy ranked seventh in air yards per pass attempt at 8.0, indicating his ability to push the ball downfield effectively. These metrics underscore Purdy's individual prowess and his significant role in the team's success, refuting the notion that he is solely a product of the 49ers' offensive system.



While Purdy may be well-suited for Shanahan's offense, reducing his achievements to that of a system quarterback fails to acknowledge the substantial contributions and accomplishments he has made. As the narrative surrounding Purdy's success continues to evolve, it is crucial to recognize and appreciate the depth of his impact and skill set, independent of the team's offensive system.

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