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The San Francisco 49ers are down to their third quarterback, a rookie who was the last pick in the entire draft last April.

That means Mr. Irrelevant is now quite relevant.

Brock Purdy is now the starting quarterback for the 49ers, a team built to win right now. Purdy, a rookie from Iowa State, took over Sunday against the Miami Dolphins when Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a season-ending ankle injury.

Purdy stepped in and helped lead the 49ers to a 33-17 victory over the Dolphins. The 49ers lost Trey Lance to a knee injury earlier this season and now have lost Garoppplo. It's hard to imagine a team overcoming those types of losses to win it all, but the way the 49ers are constructed, it's not out of the question.

Purdy displayed a confidence Sunday that allowed him to play winning football. It helps that he has a bevy of talent around him, especially skill-player talent. It also helps that he has a defense on the other side that can dominate games.

Brock Purdy
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The 49ers weren't great on offense against Miami, but Purdy finished 25 of 37 for 210 yards, two touchdown passes and one pick -- impressive numbers for a guy who didn't expect to play and probably didn't take more than a handful of reps with the starters over the past month.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is one of the best offensive minds in the game, and he made it easy on Purdy, which he will do as long as he's the starter. That's the 49ers way. Running the ball is the foundation of the offense, which makes it easy on any quarterback under center.

That isn't to say the 49ers are a lock to play in the Super Bowl with Purdy. But don't count them out just yet.

The 49ers were surging before the Garoppolo injury, but still have to be considered one of the best teams in the NFC. They remain seventh in my Power Rankings this week. Some will say that's too high with the loss of Garoppolo. But I believe in Shanahan, and Purdy has the ability to operate just fine in this offense.

The big question is whether he can win a game when things aren't going the right way. If the running game isn't clicking, can Purdy throw it well enough to win a big game?

That's for down the line. For now, he showed Sunday he's more than capable of playing in the league. It wasn't too big for him. That's a great sign.

It's why Mr. Irrelevant is now really truly relevant in the race to the Super Bowl.  

Biggest Movers
6 Seahawks
5 Dolphins
1 Eagles They just keep on winning games as Jalen Hurts continues to move up the MVP rankings. The offense is dominant and the run defense was better against the Titans. 1 11-6-0
2 Bills They would be the top seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. They have righted things after a lull a few weeks ago. 2 11-6-0
3 Cowboys They got off to a slow start against the Colts, but in the fourth quarter they showed why they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender. They are good on both lines, which matters. 2 12-5-0
4 Chiefs As long as they don't play the Bengals, they are just fine. Cincinnati beat them three times in 2022, including last week. Don't worry much about this group. 3 11-6-0
5 Vikings They are 10-2 as they prepare to face the Lions this week, but there are still questions about this team. The defense has to be better. 1 7-10-0
6 Bengals They have righted their season with four straight victories, showing they will be a factor in the AFC by beating the Chiefs. Samaje Perine was outstanding in that game. 2 9-8-0
7 49ers Without Jimmy Garoppolo for the rest of the season, they face a real challenge. Rookie Brock Purdy was good against Miami, but can it stay that way? Do they sign Baker Mayfield? -- 12-5-0
8 Dolphins Tua Tagovailoa and the offense struggled against the 49ers. But injuries up front didn't help. Now comes a big game against the Chargers and Justin Herbert. 5 11-6-0
9 Ravens The injury to Lamar Jackson is concerning, but it doesn't look like it will end his season. Even so, the offense has been unsteady with him. -- 13-4-0
10 Seahawks Geno Smith is playing outstanding football, carrying this team on offense. The defense is still shaky, which is a concern. 6 9-8-0
11 Commanders The tie against the Giants could help them when it comes to the playoffs. They head into their bye this week losing just once in the last eight games. 2 4-13-0
12 Giants They tied Washington, and now face a monster division game with the Eagles. The playoffs are still very much a strong possibility. 3 6-11-0
13 Titans That was a beat-down in Philadelphia against the Eagles. They did nothing right. Teams have limited Derrick Henry the past two weeks, which isn't a good thing. 3 6-11-0
14 Jets They showed some fight in rallying against the Vikings, but they came up just short. Mike White did some good things in that game after a slow start as they head to Buffalo to play the Bills. 3 7-10-0
15 Chargers They just can't seem to get anything going in terms of consistency. Losing to the Raiders to drop to 6-6 hurts their playoff chances, and they face a must-win game with Miami coming to town. 3 5-12-0
16 Buccaneers That last-second touchdown drive to beat the Saints could be what gets this team going for their playoff push. Tom Brady looked lifeless for much of the game, but he did it when it counted. 3 9-8-0
17 Patriots Mac Jones and the passing game had major problems against the Bills. Is the offense fixable with Matt Patricia? 3 4-13-0
18 Browns Deshaun Watson was rusty in his return to game action for the first time in two years. But the defense saved the day with two touchdowns against the Texans. 1 11-6-0
19 Lions Don't look now, but the Lions are still alive in the playoff race after dominating the Jaguars. The offense is good and the defense is better than it's been. Now they face a big game with the Vikings. 3 12-5-0
20 Raiders They've won three straight to give themselves a chance to make the playoffs. Josh Jacobs continues to have big games, and Davante Adams is showing why he was acquired in the trade. 3 8-9-0
21 Packers Aaron Rodgers beat the Bears again. Same old story. At 5-8, they are barely alive, but they are still playing games that matter. 3 9-8-0
22 Steelers Kenny Pickett has won three of his past four starts, showing improvement along the way. He is taking care of the ball and doing enough to move the ball. 4 10-7-0
23 Falcons Their playoff chances are slipping away, even in a bad division. Two straight close losses have put them in a bad position. 5 7-10-0
24 Jaguars They were ambushed by the Lions and looked awful in getting blown out. The defense is a major problem. 4 9-8-0
25 Saints The defense was outstanding against the Bucs, but wilted late in the loss. They are done as they head to their bye. This season has been a flop. 4 9-8-0
26 Cardinals They come off their bye with questions about Kliff Kingsbury's future. They have to play well down the stretch, or changes could be coming. 1 4-13-0
27 Colts The Jeff Saturday excitement has waned. They are one of the bigger flops this season, as the Matt Ryan experiment seems to have failed. -- 9-8-0
28 Panthers They come off their bye thinking about next year. Can Steve Wilks keep the job if the Panthers play well down the stretch? -- 2-15-0
29 Rams They showed some fight against Seattle, but it doesn't matter. With all the injuries, including shutting down Matthew Stafford for the season, they are done. -- 10-7-0
30 Bears Justin Fields came back, but they still can't beat Aaron Rodgers. Like Rodgers said, he owns the Bears. The Bears are eliminated from the playoffs - as if they had a chance. -- 7-10-0
31 Broncos The defense continues to play well, but the offense is awful. Russell Wilson isn't very good right now. Nice trade. -- 8-9-0
32 Texans They find new ways to lose games, but it's the same story. They are bad as they head to Dallas to play the Cowboys. -- 10-7-0