When you think of battle-tested teams in 2022, the San Francisco 49ers should come to mind. For the second time this season, the team lost their starting quarterback to a season-ending injury, and both times, head coach Kyle Shanahan's resilient squad found a way to secure the win in the same contest. After quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down in the first quarter, all three phases rallied to put up another 30 points on the way to a 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Rookie Brock Purdy stepped in without hesitation for his first set of meaningful NFL reps and connected on 25-of-37 pass attempts for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. On special teams, kicker Robbie Gould had himself a day, sinking seven kicks to add 15 points for San Francisco. And on defense, the unit continued to do what they've been doing for the previous four weeks - dominate. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa sacked Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa three times. Collectively, the unit produced four takeaways. And, on Bosa's third sack, linebacker Dre Greenlaw scooped and scored to put an exclamation mark on the win.
With Garoppolo out for the season, Purdy will be tasked with starting quarterback responsibilities in Week 14 as the team prepares to face Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Shanahan, and Purdy's teammates, were quick to voice the confidence they have in the rookie to continue leading the offense.
"He believes that he can make any play, and he believes he should make the right play. If he doesn't make it the right way, he is disappointed at himself because he believes he's capable of doing that," Shanahan said. "And then so do we, so I love someone like that because they're not going to take the easy way out. They're always going to put the pressure on themselves and that's what gives him an opportunity to reach his max potential and I think he's done that his whole life and that's what's got him to this moment. And that's what's going to keep him going in the right direction going forward."
"I've got all the confidence in the world in Purdy," linebacker Fred Warner said. "It's a lot to ask a rookie, obviously being thrust in the position he's in. At the same time, he doesn't have to do too much. He has so many weapons on that side to just get the ball to and his job is just to protect the football. We have a really good offense, he's in the best position possible."
Here's a look at the latest NFL power rankings from several national outlets:
Around the NFL Writer Dan Hanzus
"The 49ers had their best win of the season on Sunday against the Dolphins, but it won't be remembered that way. Jimmy Garoppolo is done for the year after suffering a foot injury that will require surgery... There is some optimism to be found in the relief effort by Brock Purdy, who piloted the offense with surprising efficiency in his first career game action. If Purdy -- the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft -- can get this team back to the Super Bowl, we have ourselves a movie script."
NFL Writer Nick Wagoner on the 49ers scoring defense
"The 49ers defense leads the league in plenty of categories but none matter more than this one. San Francisco has yielded just 15.8 points per game. Having lost two starting quarterbacks (Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo) to season-ending injuries, even more onus will fall on the defense. If that unit can keep playing at this level, rookie Brock Purdy and Co. won't have to do much to keep the Niners rolling toward the postseason."
NFL Writer Frank Schwab
"Nick Bosa is suddenly making a push for Defensive Player of the Year. Micah Parsons was a runaway favorite before Week 13, but Bosa's three sacks open up the conversation again. Bosa has 14.5 sacks this season. Parsons has 12. If Bosa can reach 20, he has a good shot at the award."
Around the NFC West
The 49ers remain firmly on top of the NFC West standings with an 8-4 record. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Los Angeles Rams 27-23 on Sunday to improve to 7-5 and move up to No. 12 in the rankings. The Arizona Cardinals had a Bye in Week 13 and currently find themselves at No. 23 in the standings. Meanwhile, the Rams remain near the bottom of the competition at No. 29.
Pro Bowl voting for the 2022-23 season is open. Be sure to cast your votes daily for your favorite 49ers players here.