I love a good underdog story as much as anything in sports, so I’m fully into the idea of a player who was picked last in the most recent NFL Draft being one win away from being a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl.
That got me to looking up stats about Brock Purdy and the 49ers matchup with the Eagles on Sunday. Here are five things I found.
1) Brock Purdy has been really good
Purdy made his first appearance in this eight-game run in Week 13 against the Dolphins. Since then (and including postseason), he’s No. 2 in Passing Points Earned Per Play, trailing only Jared Goff of the Lions. He remains No. 2 if we look at Points Above Average Per Play on all plays (not just passes).
He’s been worthy of the recognition.
What’s been the key to Purdy’s success?
One important number is how he’s fared on intermediate passes, those thrown 10-to-19 yards downfield.
He’s 33-of-46 for 648 yards on those passes since Week 13. The 72% completion percentage on those throws is the best in the NFL in that span. He went 5-of-6 for 95 yards on them against the Cowboys in the Divisional Round. Three of those throws helped set up short field goals for Robbie Gould. The other turned into a 30-yard completion to George Kittle that set up Christian McCaffrey’s go-ahead touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
3)An Eagles edge
A look at our Trenches tool on The 33rd Team’s website shows a distinct advantage for the Eagles pass rush against the 49ers pass blockers.
Philadelphia ranks No. 1 in Pass Rush Points Saved on a per-play basis this season. Their opponents have had the highest blown block rate on pass attempts of any team in the league.
The 49ers offensive line ranks 26th in Pass Block Points Earned Per Play. In other words, this is a highly unfavorable matchup for them.
For his part, Purdy ranks 7th in Passing Points Earned Per Play when under pressure since Week 13 among the 30 quarterbacks with the most attempts.
4)Berry, Berry Good
Purdy is also going to have to deal with the best-playing cornerback he’s seen in his run of success in James Bradberry.
Bradberry ranked tied for 4th in Total Points among defensive backs this season (though some might argue he’s not even the best corner on his team).
Opponents completed 26-of-73 passes against Bradberry this season. The 36% completion percentage against was the lowest in the NFL.
Daniel Jones didn’t have any luck. He was 0-for-2 with an interception when throwing at Bradberry.
5) Watch what happens from in close
Against the Cardinals and Seahawks in Week 18 and the Wild Card Round, the 49ers made it work at a high level of effectiveness once they got inside the red zone.
Purdy was 8-of-11 for 4 touchdowns in the red zone and 4-of-5 from the 10 or closer. He did this through short passes. All four of the touchdowns came on goal-to-go from the 7-yard line or closer.
Purdy was 4-of-8 on passes from the 10 or closer from Weeks 13 to 17 and 1-of-2 for 2 yards against the Cowboys.
The Eagles are tough to pass against inside the 10. Their defense ranks 5th in positive percentage allowed on passes (25%) but last in positive percentage allowed on runs (57%) (for those unfamiliar, positive percentage is the percentage of positive plays allowed that the opposing offense accrues).