The 49ers Have Given Deebo Samuel the Perfect Opportunity to Cement His Place in the NFL’s History Books With a Rare Feat

The San Francisco 49ers are amidst a late-season playoff push, with the perfect opportunity to control their own destiny. Kyle Shanahan’s recipe for success has included getting Deebo Samuel the football as much as possible. The third-year wide receiver is on the cusp of putting himself in rare company with an impressive feat.

Deebo Samuel is one pace to accomplish a rare feat

With game manager Jimmy Garoppolo under center, the San Francisco 49ers employ a run-centric offensive approach.

When Raheem Mostert suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1, rookie running back Elijah Mitchell emerged as a potential bell cow in the Niners’ rushing attack.

Mitchell has missed some time due to injury, opening the door for Kyle Shanahan to unleash Deebo Samuel in the running game.

Samuel has rushed for 240 yards and six touchdowns on 33 carries during the 2021 NFL season.

Mitchell currently leads the Niners in rushing, amassing 759 yards in nine games. However, the rookie trails the star wideout in the touchdown category with just five scores.

If the South Carolina product holds onto the lead, he will enter elite territory. He’s on pace to become the first wide receiver to lead his team in rushing touchdowns since the NFL merger in 1970, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 49ers WR has developed into a stud in Year 3

49ers WR Deebo Samuel runs the ball against the Bengals
Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers in action against the Cincinnati Bengals | Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Deebo Samuel’s emergence has been a breath of fresh air for the San Francisco 49ers’ offense.

The third-year receiver is enjoying the most productive season of his career since the Niners selected him in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

Samuel has recorded 57 receptions for 1,028 yards and five touchdowns in 12 games. He’s currently eighth in the NFL in receiving yards. His 93 targets lead the team, as he’s proven to be the most dangerous playmaker in San Francisco.

The 25-year-old wideout showed flashes of brilliance in his first two seasons with the 49ers, but he’s putting it all together in 2021.

Samuel operates as a swiss-army knife for the Niners, making his presence felt in the passing game and on the ground. He’s just the third player in NFL history with 1,000 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns, and five rushing scores in the same season. The other two players to accomplish the feat are Roger Craig and Marshall Faulk.

It seems that Deebo Samuel is only scratching the surface of what he can be in this league.

Kyle Shanahan excels at maximizing his players’ talents

The San Francisco 49ers’ offense features plenty of talent at the skill positions. A core of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Elijah Mitchell, and Brandon Aiyuk is a solid one to build around.

Naturally, with so much talent, it could be challenging to keep everyone fed. However, Kyle Shanahan usually does a fantastic job of getting his big-time playmakers the ball early and often.

Shanahan and offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel have done a masterful job with Samuel so far in the 2021 season.

“With Deebo, it’s game by game, how can we get him the ball?” said McDaniel. “Some games you’ll see him in the backfield more, some games you won’t. It all depends on the defense and how we’re able to get him the ball and what advantages it presents for the rest of the offense.”

The Niners emphasize putting Kittle in a position to make plays as well. The Pro Bowl tight end has caught 57 passes for 757 yards and six touchdowns in 10 games.

Aiyuk appeared to be in the doghouse early in the season. His role has increased as the season progresses. He’s recorded 41 receptions for 549 yards and four scores.

The 49ers have been rolling on offense despite the injuries. They just have to keep feeding Deebo Samuel.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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