San Francisco’s third-string quarterback Brock Purdy led the 49ers to a 35-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in his first NFL start on Sunday and is looking for the second win of his career this week against the Seattle Seahawks on “Thursday Night Football.”

While Sunday was his first start, it wasn’t Purdy’s first taste of NFL action. He entered San Francisco’s Dec. 4 game against the Miami Dolphins when quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot during the 49ers’ opening drive. Purdy helped lead the team to a 33-17 win.

After Garoppolo’s injury, Purdy was the last man standing in the 49ers’ quarterback room. The 49ers had already lost starter Trey Lance, whom they drafted third overall in the 2021 draft, to a right ankle injury he sustained in the second game of the season.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, bottom, celebrates with his family after a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. | Jed Jacobsohn, Associated Press

On Sunday, Purdy became the first quarterback to beat Tom Brady in his first NFL start, after throwing two touchdowns and rushing for another, according to ESPN. He has the chance to continue making history this season.

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Why is Brock Purdy ‘Mr. Irrelevant’?

Purdy was drafted No. 262 in the 2022 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers after playing four seasons for Iowa State. As the last pick of the draft, he was given the title of “Mr. Irrelevant,” a nickname that has been given to the last overall pick since 1976.

Former San Francisco 49ers receiver Paul Salata created the tradition by inviting the last pick and his family to “Irrelevant Week” in Newport Beach, California, according to NBC Sports. The festivities include a trip to Disneyland and the Lowsman Banquet, where Mr. Irrelevant is presented with the Lowsman Trophy, a parody of the coveted Heisman Trophy.

This month, Purdy became the first Mr. Irrelevant to complete a forward pass and to throw a touchdown pass in the regular season, according to Forbes.

If the 49ers stay on track and make it to the playoffs, Purdy would become the first quarterback selected in the final round since the draft moved to seven rounds in 1994 to start a playoff game and just the seventh to appear in a playoff game, according to NFL.com.

What are the 49ers saying about Brock Purdy?

In his postgame press conference on Sunday, defensive end Nick Bosa praised Purdy for his performance.

“We got a quarterback,” Bosa said. “I had a lot of confidence in him, but obviously, it’s the NFL, and you’ve got to go perform. And he did that pretty darn good.”

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy speaks at a news conference after a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy speaks at a news conference after a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022. | Jed Jacobsohn, Associated Press

Despite entering the season not expecting Purdy to start this season, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan emphasized the confidence he and the team had in Purdy ahead of the game.

“He reacts and runs around and makes some plays, and that’s how he played in college and that’s how he’s been so far in the league,” Shanahan said. “I’m just happy that he was able to go out there and perform at the level a lot of us thought that he was capable of.”

Praise of Purdy’s performance extended outside the 49ers locker room. On ESPN’s “First Take,” Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin said he believes Purdy can take the 49ers to the Super Bowl.

“When I first saw him last week, he had Tom Brady vibes,” he said. “It’s Purdy, it’s that offensive genius they have in Kyle Shanahan, it’s the system, and it works perfectly. I think they can go all the way to the Super Bowl.”