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This Third-Year Wideout Made A Splash In Week Six

The 49ers fell to the Falcons 28-14 on Sunday. However, this third-year wideout had his best game of the season. Who was it? What does he add that’s different from any other 49ers receiver?

Week Six was a frustrating loss for the 49ers against the Atlanta Falcons. The 49ers’ defense was crushed by injuries and could not overcome the massive loss of talent. Garoppolo was great on Sunday. His stats will not show how good he looked, but Garoppolo was far removed from the debacle that was the Broncos game. The offense had its chances with Jimmy Garoppolo throwing two deep dimes for possible touchdowns that were dropped by Ray-Ray McCloud and Charlie Woerner respectively.

For the first time all year, all phases of the ball struggled on Sunday. The 49ers’ injuries on defense depleted the then number one defense in the league with no Nick Bosa, the loss of Mooney Ward in-game due to a groin injury, and missing two big run stoppers in Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead. With all that said, there was one major positive that shined bright.

That player was Brandon Aiyuk.

Brandon Aiyuk’s 49ers Career To Date

Brandon Aiyuk had a great rookie season. He looked like a future number-one receiver. He was making play after play and looked too special. Mostly with Nick Mullens, Aiyuk finished his rookie year with 60 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns. He showed his athletic progress with the “play of the season” against the Philadelphia Eagles when he hurdled over a defender to score a jaw-dropping touchdown.

Brandon Aiyuk with a FILTHY hurdle!!!! #49ers — OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers_) October 5, 2020

Entering his second season, Aiyuk was expected to make a big jump in production. However, it did not start that way. He was put into the proverbial “Shanahan doghouse” for a portion of the season. Shanahan was not happy with his play and his unwillingness to block in the run game. In his first seven games, he had 13 catches for 141 yards and one touchdown. It was a shocking development and one of the biggest stories of the 2021 season. Then, something flipped.

In his last ten games to end the season, Aiyuk had 43 catches for 685 yards and four touchdowns. Over a 17-game season, that would amount to 73 catches, 1,164 yards, and seven touchdowns. Aiyuk overcame his slow start and proved to Shanahan that he was willing to do whatever it took to help the team to win and played like a potential number-one wide receiver.

Overall, Brandon Aiyuk finished his second professional season with 56 catches, a career-high 826 yards, and for the second straight season, five receiving touchdowns. He was everything the 49ers organization hoped for. A model citizen, a great teammate, and a big-time wide receiver.

Brandon Aiyuk In Week Six

Brandon Aiyuk had his breakout game of the 2022 season. The former first-round pick out of Arizona State has shown flashes throughout his early NFL career. A great route runner, Aiyuk is constantly open. All he needs is the quarterback to find him. Well, in Week Six, that was the case.

Down 14-0 early in the second quarter, the 49ers needed someone to make a play. Enter Brandon Aiyuk. On a second and five from the 12-yard line, Aiyuk took a screen pass from Jimmy Garoppolo and walked into the end zone on an impressive catch and run.

Screen pass to Brandon Aiyuk for a @49ers TD! @THE2ERA #FTTB 📺: #SFvsATL on FOX 📱: Stream on NFL+ — NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2022

It was a brilliant play call. Usually, when Deebo Samuel is in the backfield, most likely, it will be a run to him. However, the 49ers faked the handoff and then came to the opposite side of the field on a screen pass. The 49ers knew that the Falcons’ defense would hyper-focus on the threat of Deebo running the ball on a stretch play to the edge. The play developed and left a crease for Aiyuk to find.

Then after a great punt return by Ray-Ray McCloud, Aiyuk showed his unbelievable route-running ability as he shook A.J. Terrell for enough separation to become wide open and once the ball was in his hands, he was a heat-seeking missile searching for the end zone.

Brandon Aiyuk’s 2nd TD of the day ties up the game! @THE2ERA 📺: #SFvsATL on FOX 📱: Stream on NFL+ — NFL (@NFL) October 16, 2022

It was a high-level route that fooled Terrell. As seen in the video above, Aiyuk made it seem like he was going to run a drag route to the middle of the field right in front of Jimmy Garoppolo. However, it was a perfectly executed whip route. Aiyuk’s first three steps forced Terrell to overcommit, allowing Aiyuk to find the wide-open space left by the initial route. Once that was done, it was all he needed to catch and run for his second touchdown of the first half.

With two so far today, #49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk has the first game of his career with multiple receiving touchdowns. — Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) October 16, 2022

Overall, Brandon Aiyuk finished the day with eight catches for a season-high 83 yards and two touchdowns. Aiyuk would have had over 100 yards on the day if there was not a penalty late after Aiyuk had a 20-plus yard catch. Aiyuk is different from every other 49ers receiver. He’s the best route runner on the team by far. Deebo Samuel may get the headlines, but Aiyuk deserves his spotlight as well and on Sunday he showed how great he can be.



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