Brock Purdy keeps making NFL history, this time at Tom Brady’s expense

Brock Purdy keeps making history.

Back at the end of October, with the San Francisco 49ers trailing the Kansas City Chiefs late in the game, Kyle Shanahan pulled starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, replacing him with rookie Brock Purdy.

When the rookie completed a pass, he became the first Mr. Irrelevant in NFL history to complete a pass during a regular season game.

Then last week, when Garoppolo suffered a foot injury against the Miami Dolphins, Purdy came into the game and threw a touchdown pass. That made even more NFL history, as he became the first Mr. Irrelevant to throw a touchdown pass in NFL history.

On Sunday, Purdy made his first NFL start. Again Tom Brady, the player who Purdy’s own family wanted to see play in person. As reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter prior to the game, Purdy’s family acquired tickets to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers weeks ago, for hopes of seeing Brady play in person.

Now they were getting to see their son make his first NFL start as well.

And wouldn’t you know it, Purdy got the better of the living legend. The rookie hit on 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns, without an interception, as the 49ers blew out the Buccaneers by a final score of 35-7. Brady struggled in one of the worst losses of his career, completing 34 of 55 passes for just 253 yards, a touchdowns, and a pair of interceptions.

The San Francisco win made even more history for Purdy.

How was the victory historic? Because Purdy became the first quarterback in the history of the NFL to win his first start against Brady. Prior to Purdy on Sunday, six other NFL quarterbacks started their first game against Brady.

All six lost:

Luke McCown was the first player to attempt the “Brady Challenge,” back in 2004 with the Cleveland Browns. He completed 20 of 34 passes for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 2 interceptions.

The Browns lost to the New England Patriots by a final score of 42-15.

Up next? Matt Flynn back in 2010 with the Green Bay Packers. Flynn perhaps came the closest, as he completed 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with an interception. Green Bay narrowly lost to the Patriots by a final score of 31-27.

That game might be remembered best for this kickoff return from offensive lineman Dan Connolly:

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Tyler Palko was next to attempt the “Brady Challenge,” the following season. He did complete 24 of 37 passes for 230 yards, but he also threw 3 interceptions.

Kansas City lost by a final score of 34-3.

In the 2012 season, New England squared off with the Tennessee Titans to open the season. That was also the first NFL start for Jake Locker, who was drafted in the first round the prior season by Tennessee. Locker only saw relief duty during his rookie campaign, but he earned the starting job for 2012, outdueling veteran Matt Hasselbeck.

It did not go too well for Locker, as he completed 23 of 32 passes for 229 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Tennessee lost by a final score of 34-13.

Brady and the Patriots opened the 2013 against another quarterback making his first career start. This time it was rookie E.J. Manuel, who was drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills. Manuel and the Bills gave Brady quite a scare, falling short by a final score of 23-21 when Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski converted a 35-yard field goal with just five seconds left.

In the losing effort, Manuel completed 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns, which was an impressive effort for the rookie against Brady and a Bill Belichick defense.

The most recent quarterback to make his first start against Brady was Luke Falk, back in 2019. The Patriots defeated Falk and the New York Jets by a final score of 30-14, and in the loss Falk — then a rookie — completed 12 of 22 passes for just 98 yards and an interception.

Fast-forward to Sunday. As note, Purdy completed 16 of 21 passes for 185 yards and a pair of touchdowns, without an interception. That was good for an NFL Passer Rating of 134.0. That makes it the best NFL Passer Rating of all seven quarterback who made their first start against Brady.

Mr. Irrelevant just keeps making history.

Could some playoff history be next?

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