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49ers QB Brock Purdy focused on 'new game' vs. Lions after Divisional Round struggles vs. Packers

Typically, when NFL players speak about moving on from the most recent week, they're referring to a loss.

Brock Purdy had to use this approach to move past a win -- in the playoffs, no less -- this week. Purdy's final stat line was decent as he finished 23 of 39 for 252 yards and a touchdown pass, but that came only after he battled some significant first-half struggles and never fully found a rhythm typical of his 2023 season.

Now, as the 49ers enter Championship Sunday ready for a date with the Detroit Lions, folks are wondering if Purdy is capable of getting his team to Super Bowl LVIII.

"It doesn't matter if you played good or bad," Purdy said on Wednesday about his showing versus Green Bay, via the official team transcript. "I don't take really any of that with you the next week, it's a new game, it's a new scheme, it's a new environment. Everything about it is new. So it's almost like you've got to clean the slate, learn from the mistakes, build off of the good things that you've done. But it's a new game."

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Some might wonder whether the former Mr. Irrelevant is made of sugar. Rain has been something of a nuisance for Purdy in the 2023 season, causing him to struggle significantly in an early season loss at Cleveland, and San Francisco's narrow win over Green Bay in the Divisional Round. He started Saturday's game against the Packers with a glove on his throwing hand to retain some grip amid a consistent rain, but ditched it rather quickly, and continued to struggle with accuracy until he dropped a 32-yard touchdown pass to George Kittle.

In that moment, folks who were ready to question Purdy via social media inserted their collective foot in mouth.

Purdy has had some ups and downs in 2023, no doubt, but when he's comfortable, he can sling it with the best of them. He led a game-winning touchdown drive in the fourth quarter Saturday, completing 6 of 7 passes on the march and scrambling twice for 11 yards. Purdy and the 49ers delivered on a day when they -- like the weather -- weren't at their best.

"We're all sitting here because of him, obviously," receiver Brandon Aiyuk said on Wednesday, via The Associated Press. "Steady. A dawg. Just a football player. I love playing football with him. He's the reason why I'm sitting here today with an opportunity this weekend to play my best football, because of a quarterback like him."

Purdy might not have to do all that much if Kyle Shanahan has his way. As Lions head coach Dan Campbell noted on Wednesday, Shanahan schemes up one of the premier rushing attacks in the NFL, and with an elite player in Christian McCaffrey carrying the ground game, Detroit will have their hands full before they move down the checklist to Purdy.

"Stop the run. You got to stop the run because if you don't they'll rush for 250 on you and they won't even worry about passing," Campbell told reporters on Wednesday. "Everything has to start there. Shanahan does an unbelievable job of working on one side and make you overreact. He then counters off of it and play passes off of it and works the middle of the field.

"Look, you got your hands full in both regards. Purdy does a hell of a job. They throw a lot of daggers in the middle of the field and he does a hell of a job with touch, timing and rhythm. But we have to stop this run game. It just has to start there. As much as you can, you have to make this team one dimensional and that's not easy to do."

San Francisco already understands the importance of quarterback. They lost their best one (Purdy) in a loss to the Eagles in the NFC Championship Game last year, and eventually gave up on the passing game entirely because of injuries.

They're preparing for a better showing in their third-straight conference title game appearance. And Purdy isn't spending a moment considering what happened last week, or last year.

"Obviously, I'm excited that we're here," Purdy said. "Last year is last year. That was its own game. It hasn't been anything that has bled into this year or this game. This is the 49ers against the Lions now. So it's a new year, a new approach."

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