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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Brock Purdy overcame a sluggish first half to do what he’s done since taking over as the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback. He played a great game.

Purdy threw two more long overs George Keatley and the 49ers beat the Washington Commanders 37-20 on Saturday for their eighth straight win.

“He just gets us the ball,” Kittle said. “He’s great with the football. He puts it on target. He lets the boys run with it. He’s super smart in the backfield, makes guys miss.

“His confidence is through the roof right now and I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.”

Purdy continued his impressive play in place of the injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in Week 13, looking much better than expected for the last pick in this year’s NFL draft.

He has two TD passes in four straight games for the 49ers (11-4) and has won all three of his starts as San Francisco pressures Minnesota in the race for the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Purdy joined Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks since track began in 1950 to win his first three starts with multiple touchdowns in each game.

“I don’t really think about getting more and more comfortable or anything like that,” he said. “I still have the same fire and drive as I did when I wasn’t playing. I want to get on the field and I want to prove myself to my teammates and earn respect on every play, every snap, every drive.”

Taylor Heinike threw two TD passes for Washington (7-7-1), but also lost to Facebook and throws an interrupt in the fourth quarter. He was replaced by Carson Wentz after his second award, and coach Ron Rivera said he hasn’t decided which quarterback will start next week.

The Commanders are winless in their last three games but still have a half-game lead over Seattle and Detroit in the race for the NFC’s final playoff spot.

“Nothing has changed, we’re still in the same situation we were in,” Rivers said. “We manage our own destiny. We win the next two, we give ourselves a chance, so it’s up to us.”

The Niners put the game away in the third quarter thanks to a couple more big plays from Purdy. They took the opening kickoff of the second half and went ahead when Kittle opened deep For a 34-yard score, he stole an intended target from teammate Ray-Ray McCloud.

Kittle scored again later in the quarter 33 yard catch and run make it 21-7. Kittle also had two TD catches last week, giving him a career-high eight on the season.

“He makes my job easy,” Purdy said. “He wins man-to-man matchups with his speed and everything. You just give your friend the ball, he will take it.”

San Francisco capitalized on big plays throughout the game and also scored its first touchdown on a 71-yard run by McCloud.

Nick Bosa and the Niners defense did the rest of the work as Bosa fielded a single by Robbie Gould. Heinicke Park and San Francisco adding another after Jimmy Ward had an interception in the Washington area.

Wentz, playing for the first time since Week 6, threw a 20-yard TD pass to Curtis Samuel, but it was too little too late for Washington.

TIP DRILL:

The Commanders took advantage of a couple of touchdown passes to tie the game late in the first half.

The first came when Purdy found himself completing a throw over the middle to Jauan Jennings. But Jennings hit the ball and correctly prompted Darrick Forrest for an interception.

Washington later converted a third-and-5 on a pass that Jahan Dotson picked off. before catching a ricochet.

It was created by Heinicke’s 4-yard TD pass to Dotson made the score 7-7 at halftime.

FOURTH-DARK STOPS

Both teams were tied for fourth down in the red zone in the first half.

San Francisco drove to the 15 on its first drive before Christian McCaffrey was stopped by David Mayo for no gain on a fourth-and-1 pitch by linebacker Kyle Juszczyk.

Washington went down by 1 early in the second quarter on Antonio Gibson stuffed on the fourth down By Fred Warner and Jevon Kinlaw.

The Chiefs were stopped again in the third quarter on fourth and 1 from their own 34.

Injuries

Commanders. LB John Bostic (pectoral) left in the second half and did not return. … DE James Smith-Williams left in the fourth quarter to be evaluated for a head injury.

49ers. CB Charvarius Ward went to the locker room in the second half with nausea but returned to the game.

NEXT

Commanders host Cleveland on Jan. 1.

49 year olds. Visit Las Vegas on January 1st.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP–NFL



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