The 49ers were among the league’s best in 2022, putting together a 13-4 regular-season record before winning their first two playoff games.
While they stumbled in the NFC Championship, the emergence of quarterback Brock Purdy gave San Francisco something to build on ahead of the new campaign.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. San Francisco 49ers
Sun • Sep 10 • 10AM
Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA.
TV channel: FOX sports.
QUARTERBACK icons Phil Simms and Boomer Esiason are of the belief that Brock Purdy can take the extra step and lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2023.
But Purdy and his surgically repaired right elbow will have a big test on Sept. 10 when the 49ers visit the Pittsburgh Steelers for their NFL season opener.
Purdy’s rise was one of the NFL’s biggest storylines last season as he went from the final pick in the NFL Draft – seventh round, No. 262 overall – to a surprise star over the last six regular season games and two playoff games before being injured against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The out-of-nowhere tale helped to obscure the performance of the first of nine quarterbacks taken in the draft. Kenny Pickett was taken No. 20 in the first round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, went 7-5 as a starter and by most accounts has blossomed in the leadup to Year 2 as the successor to Ben Roethlisberger.
Pickett, who also went to college at Pittsburgh, passed for 2,404 yards, completing 245 of 389 passes with seven touchdowns and nine interceptions.
When it was all over, Purdy finished third in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year voting and Pickett was sixth.
Purdy finished the regular season completing 67.1 (114 for 170) for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. From the Dolphins game through the end of the regular season, the 49ers averaged 33.5 points per game.
Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young compared the way Purdy handles himself to “The Force”, and Simms said Purdy’s physical skills are underrated in large part because he was the 262nd player selected in the draft.