Las Vegas Raiders’ Week 17 opposing QB review: Mr. Irrelevant visits Sin City

Win City – that’s the phrase Las Vegas Raiders’ owner Mark Davis wants associated with the Silver and Black. Unfortunately, it’s difficult for such a slogan to be attached to a team with a 6-9 record. A win against the hottest team in the NFC can help turn that around, though.

Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was the final selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, earning him the nickname “Mr. Irrelevant”. Four months into his rookie campaign, the 23-year-old has been anything but irrelevant.

Purdy has been the man under center in San Francisco since Week 13, leading the 49ers to a 4-0 record since taking over. The first-year quarterback has tossed two touchdowns during each of his four contests, totaling only two interceptions in the meantime. More impressively, Purdy hasn’t logged a quarterback rating below 114.5 since he officially earned the starting job.

If Patrick Graham wants the Raiders’ defense to go toe-to-toe with Purdy on Sunday, he needs to know what to expect from Mr. Irrelevant. So should you, Raider Nation.

Las Vegas prepares to host a red-hot 49ers team led by their rookie QB

To find the last time San Francisco walked away from a game as losers, you’d have to travel all the way back to Week 7. From Weeks 8–12, the 49ers won by an average of 16 points per contest. Since Purdy took over in Week 13, that margin of victory has jumped to 17.25.

The Iowa State alum is a big reason for San Francisco’s hot streak. From Week 13 onward, Purdy has thrown the sixth-most touchdowns while completing the 13th-most passes league-wide. No quarterback who’s appeared in more than one contest during this time span has logged a higher passer rating than Mr. Irrelevant, who sits atop the NFL at 110.0.

Purdy’s success comes from the rookie taking what opposing defenses give him. You’ll rarely see forced throws from the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, as proven by his 3.1% turnover-worthy play percentage (28th-highest), nor will you see too many shots downfield. Purdy’s average depth of target is 6.4 yards, which is the 47th-lowest among all 56 quarterbacks who have thrown at least one pass since Week 13.

Don’t confuse not throwing downfield often with being unable to beat you downfield, though.

Purdy doesn’t throw over the top often, but he’s extremely effective when he does

Throughout the last four weeks of football, only seven of Purdy’s throws have traveled 20+ yards through the air. Despite this, he finished December as one of the most efficient deep ball passers in the league.

With just seven pass attempts downfield, Purdy logged the second-most touchdowns (4) with the fourth-highest QB rating (141.1). San Francisco’s signal caller was one of eight quarterbacks who appeared in all four of December’s contests without throwing an interception when airing it out.

To beat Purdy, you must force him out of his rhythm on short yardage throws while not blowing downfield coverages. If the Silver and Black are able to do this successfully, Las Vegas will be in prime position to hand the rookie his first loss in the NFL; then, we can open up the discussion of associating “Win City” with the Raiders.

*Top Photo: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

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