There is a narrative surrounding San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy that he is a "checkdown" quarterback.
The thinking goes that he simply checks the ball down to running back Christian McCaffrey every time he throws it and is incapable of aggressively targeting any other spot down the field
It is fueled largely by people who clearly have not watched him play very much, if at all.
How about this?
Throughout his time with the Niners, Purdy has shown his ability to throw the ball down the field. In his first game as a starter, he completed a long touchdown pass to McCaffrey.
This was not a fluke as we have seen him throughout his first season as a starter make plays downfield.
Brock Purdy has elite throw in NFL playoffs that refutes 'checkdown' narrative
However, one throw from Saturday's nail-biter divisional-round victory over the Green Bay Packers shows that Purdy is not a quarterback who simply dumps the ball off to one of his playmakers every time he throws a pass.
Honestly, you could select several plays to prove this point. The long touchdown pass to tight end George Kittle in the first half readily springs to mind and showed Purdy's ability to scramble out of the pocket and make a play.
Yet, a different throw from the game deserves much more attention.
It occurred in the fourth quarter and was likely overlooked because that drive stalled out and resulted in a punt. Most of the attention on Purdy's positive performance is directed towards his clutch 6-of-7 drive to get the game-winning touchdown via McCaffrey's 6-yard rush.
Rightfully so, because Purdy was on the money with every throw on that drive, the only incompletion coming by way of a Kittle drop.
But his throw on the previous drive on 3rd-and-5 to wide receiver Jauan Jennings was on a different level.
The broadcast angle did not do justice to just how great a throw it was:
With the chips down and throwing from a collapsing pocket, Purdy put that ball exactly where it needed to be. Jennings also made a phenomenal catch, but Purdy placed that ball over the outstretched hand of one defensive back and right in between two others so Jennings could bring the ball down.
We have seen Purdy make throws like that all year long, where he elevates it over the first level defender but has enough touch on it so he does not overshoot his receiver.
But we had never seen Purdy do it in such a high-pressure spot where any small mistake could have been the difference between victory and defeat.
It was a clutch throw right when it was needed, and while many will still continue to claim that Purdy is nothing more than a "checkdown quarterback," anyone willing to watch the games can see that Purdy is much more than that, which is why he led the 49ers to their third straight NFC Championship game.