Deebo Samuel and Brock Purdy. Nov 23, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) eats a turkey leg as he and quarterback Brock Purdy (13) jog to the locker room following a 31-13 victory against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Clark had a nuanced discussion about San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy on Monday’s edition of First Take. Clark confessed that the most challenging thing he had to do amidst the debate of the 2023 NFL season was “act” like Purdy deserved to be in the same conversations as Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson regarding the MVP discussion.

Purdy deserved to be in the MVP discussion, but his four interceptions in a 33-19 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 ended any talk of that.

Now, he’s one of the four quarterbacks playing in championship weekend. He secured his place with a 24-21 win over the Green Bay Packers, completing 23 out of 39 passes for 252 yards and a touchdown. Although Purdy’s performance wasn’t perfect, and he missed some open receivers, the adverse weather conditions — heavy rain and the absence of top receiver Deebo Samuel — largely hampered him. As a result, he has opened himself up to criticism for not playing at the same level as Jackson, Allen, and Mahomes.

Clark’s comments have since made the rounds on social media, and as you might expect with today’s athletes, it didn’t sit well with those inside the confines of the 49ers’ locker room. Samuel, whose status for Sunday’s game is in question, came to the defense of Purdy, as he posted Clark’s clip on his Instagram story and added these comments:

“Never seen so much hate for a QB that lead the league in every category,” Samuel wrote. “Y’all folks be buggin frfr. That tape don’t tell no lies.”

Although not everyone may have watched the All-22 footage of San Francisco’s narrow defeat of Green Bay, many of us saw a quarterback who struggled in the face of adversity. However, he redeemed himself and showcased his skills as a signal-caller, leading the 49ers on a 69-yard, 12-play drive to take the lead late in the fourth quarter, reminiscent of his MVP-caliber performance earlier in the season.

It wasn’t all pretty, but Purdy answered the call. During the final drive, Purdy completed 6 out of 7 passes for 47 yards, connecting with five different receivers after only completing 53 percent of his passes prior.

So, it’s no wonder Samuel would clap back at what he perceived as disrespectful comments from Clark. However, the conversation is more nuanced than a 15-second Instagram Reel.

The narrative around Purdy remains in flux, shaped by every throw, every win, and every hot take. Though Purdy may not be lighting up the box score like Mahomes or Allen, his clutch performance under pressure and unwavering support from his teammates paint a different picture than the one Clark portrays, even if the former Pittsburgh Steelers safety is mainly correct in his assessment of Purdy’s play.

[The Spun]

About Sam Neumann

Since the beginning of 2023, Sam has been a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. A 2021 graduate of Temple University, Sam is a Charlotte native, who currently calls Greenville, South Carolina his home. He also has a love/hate relationship with the New York Mets and Jets.