49ers' Kyle Shanahan feels Brock Purdy made 'all the plays' in return to action: 'I don't think he had a bad one'

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy made his long-anticipated preseason debut on Saturday five months after having surgery to repair the torn UCL suffered during last season’s playoffs. And the 2022 rookie sensation looked almost perfect in his return to the field, appearing like he hasn’t missed a step since his unexpected breakout year.

“I thought he did real good, all the plays that he had he made and I don’t think he had a bad one,” head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters following the game, per the team transcript.

Playing the opening series in the Niners’ 21-20 win over the Denver Broncos, Purdy looked back to full form on his very first play, finding wide receiver Deebo Samuel for a 25-yard gain to open up the drive. He finished 4 for 5 for 65 yards, and even added an eight-yard scramble to set up a field goal.

“Yeah, no, it felt really good just to be out there with the guys in a game environment. Obviously, just get the nerves out a little bit,” Purdy said. “Just the buildup to a game and everything, and then being able to get an early completion to Deebo and get things rolling. So, it felt really good to be able to get out there and drive and honestly, just be in a game environment, like I said. So, yeah, I’m excited about it.”

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Since getting surgery in March to address his elbow injury, the updates on Purdy’s condition have been near-constant, with pundits and fans alike anxiously awaiting any hint as to whether his timeline still has him on track for the start of the season.

After being cleared for practice ahead of training camp and ramping up his workload progressively heading into Saturday, his smooth outing versus the Broncos was yet another sign of his readiness for the regular season in three weeks.

Through the recovery process it’s been almost assured that as long as Purdy was healthy, he would be the starter for San Francisco come Week 1. And with his performance Saturday, that hurdle can just about be considered cleared. When asked whether there was anything he still needed to do to get ready for the 49ers’ opening contest against the Steelers on Sept. 10, Purdy focused solely on football adjustments rather than any additional injury barriers.

“Just keep honing in on the little details and stuff throughout the week, trying to be accurate as best as possible at practice,” he said. “Obviously, chip away at trying to take away from the mistakes at practice and feel you know, not perfect, but get close to it. And so, I want to be able to practice consistently and come Week One, be ready to rip it. So, we’re getting there.”

As for the other 49ers quarterbacks vying for the spot as Purdy’s backup, Sam Darnold finished 11 for 14 for 109 yards, while Trey Lance was 12 for 18 for 173 yards. Both had a touchdown and an interception apiece and almost identical passer ratings on the night.

Shanahan said Saturday night that Purdy will see time once again in next week’s preseason finale versus the Chargers, giving the 23-year-old one more practice outing before officially retaking the reins of the offense.

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