SANTA CLARA — Yes, Brock Purdy had a pass intercepted Tuesday, a mistake that has occurred in most of his practices in an otherwise remarkable comeback from elbow surgery.
Making this one different was who snagged it on the 49ers’ practice field.
Talanoa Hufanga, flashing his All-Pro form from last season, correctly diagnosed where Purdy was aiming a short throw and picked it off in stride before the ball reached tight end Troy Fumagalli.
Hufanga and Purdy have lockers near each other, and they often review plays together in their educational pursuits.
“If he’s throwing us one, it’s helping us get better, and it’s helping him learn,” Hufanga said. “I’m first one to pick his brain: ‘Why did I do that? What could I have done better?’ For him to learn from it and me to learn from it, that’s what makes it so competitive.”
Tuesday’s lesson: Hufanta was in man coverage and jumped the route, knowing that “the clock was going off” as Purdy had to get rid of the ball against a pass rush, to which Hufanga deferred credit on the play.
Hufanga actually bobbled the ball briefly as he raced toward the end zone for a would-be touchdown, reminiscent of his pick-six in last October’s home win over the Los Angeles Rams.
A year ago, Hufanga was coming off a part-time role as a rookie and No. 3 safety.
“Last year was a big learning curve, coming from my rookie year (when) I was learning four different positions,” Hufanga said. “Then adjusting to last year’s role of just being a safety and understanding my job and allowing other guys to make plays.
“A lot of me was overthinking as a rookie,” Hufanga added. “Now I’m trying to grasp everything and play free.”
Purdy was otherwise pretty sharp, starting 12-of-14 Tuesday, including a pass that appeared to ricochet off Deommodore Lenoir and into the hands of Deebo Samuel.
This was the start of Purdy practicing three consecutive days for the first time since March elbow surgery.
“He has that chip on the shoulder to go out there and play his game,” Hufanga said. “I love it. That’s how he commands the room and the team.”
Purdy capped his 16-of-20 practice with strikes to Charlie Woerner, Samuel, Kyle Juszczyk and Brandon Aiyuk. On that final 29-yard throw to Aiyuk against Ambry Thomas’ coverage at the goal line, Purdy got solid protection, especially as Aaron Banks came over with a fierce double-team block on Clelin Ferrell.
Purdy didn’t get off a throw on play that was was whistled dead on a sack, in which Ferrell, Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave swarmed the pocket.
BACKUP QUARTERBACK RACE
Sam Darnold rotated first as the No. 2 quarterback, and his highlight on a 5-of-6 day was a 40-yard completion to Danny Gray, who returned from a tight hip last week.
Trey Lance was 4-of-7, scrambled a few times, and he finished with an overthrow of Ronnie Bell when pressured by Robert Beal Jr.
Brandon Allen was excused from practice; he flew to Florida after Sunday’s game for the expected birth of his second son.
JAKE MOODY REBOUNDS
Rookie kicker Jake Moody made 5-of-6 field-goal attempts in practice as he rebounded from Sunday’s debut, in which he missed his two field-goal attempts. Moody made good Tuesday from 59, 34, 56, 53, and 43; his only miss was a 61-yard attempt wide left.
BELL’S FIRST IMPRESSION
Bell, a seventh-round draft pick, acknowledged that his Sunday debut was marred a fourth-quarter drop that led to an interception. That said, he also had three catches, returned two punts and averaged 19 yards on three kick returns.
“I felt like I was comfortable and that was a goal of mine. When you turn on the film and watch for assignment and alignment, I was comfortable and doing the right thing. (As a punt returner), I thought I did a good job squaring up the ball and making a clean catch. But I could have done better.”
Returning to practice were defensive ends Drake Jackson and Robert Beal, the latter of whom pressured Lance on his overthrow to Bell on Tuesday’s final throw. … Left tackle Trent Williams practiced through an early ankle issue. … Conditioning on the side field were tight end George Kittle (groin), running back Elijah Mitchell (groin) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw (hamstring).