A Record-Breaking Deebo Samuel Performance Could Make Jerry Rice Proud and Lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers are a storied franchise that has seen numerous great players in its history. Jerry Rice set the standard for wide receivers in San Francisco and the NFL at large. Deebo Samuel is following in the Hall of Famer’s footsteps despite having a completely different playing style. The third-year wideout is closing in on an elusive record held by Rice. If he shatters the mark, the Niners have a good chance at reaching Super Bowl LVI.

Deebo Samuel can break an elusive Jerry Rice record

49ers WR Deebo Samuel in action against the Rams; Jerry Rice gets inducted into 49ers Hall of Fame
Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers looks on during game against the Los Angeles Rams | Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; Hall of Famer Jerry Rice smiles during 49ers Hall of Fame induction ceremony | Tony Medina/Icon SMI/Icon Sport Media via Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers had high hopes for Deebo Samuel when they selected him with the No. 36 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. However, he’s turning into a legitimate superstar in year three.

Samuel is proving to be a dynamic playmaker in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Not only is he making noise as a receiver, but he’s also a crucial component of the 49ers’ potent rushing attack.

The South Carolina product recorded 77 receptions for 1,405 yards and six touchdowns in the regular season. He added 365 rushing yards and eight scores on 59 carries. Shanahan has emphasized his role in the NFL playoffs as well. Samuel has caught six passes for 82 yards through the first two playoff games. He’s also tallied 111 rushing yards and a touchdown on 20 carries.

One game separates San Francisco from the Super Bowl, and Samuel has a prime opportunity to pass Jerry Rice in the record books. According to StatMuse, he needs just 43 scrimmage yards to pass the Hall of Fame wideout for the most scrimmage yards by a 49ers receiver in a single season (playoffs included). Rice posted 2,006 scrimmage yards in 1995 when the Niners lost to the Green Bay Packers in the Divisional Round.

Deebo Samuel currently has 1,963 scrimmage yards between the regular season and playoffs. Given his featured role in the offense, the Pro Bowler should have no problem making history.

The 49ers will rely on the Pro Bowl wideout against the Rams

If anybody relishes the opportunity to compete against the Los Angeles Rams, it’s Deebo Samuel. The 26-year-old has a rivalry brewing with the NFC West rivals, particularly Aaron Donald. The two players have history, and Samuel seems to get up for the matchup every time.

Samuel will get a third crack at Sean McVay’s squad in the NFC Championship Game. He enjoyed success in the first two meetings against the Rams. The Inman, South Carolina native recorded nine receptions for 192 yards and one touchdown in Weeks 10 and 18 combined. He added 81 yards and two scores on the ground.

Expect the 49ers to feature Samuel early and often in the third meeting. The 6-foot, 215-pound receiver serves as a swiss-army knife for San Francisco. Whatever Kyle Shanahan needs him to do, he does.

The Rams are no slouches on defense, but Raheem Morris’ unit hasn’t been as dominant as in years past. There’s plenty of talent on that side of the ball, but LA will have its hands full with Samuel.

Deebo Samuel sets the tone for the 49ers. He’s the most physical wide receiver in the NFL and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. Instead, he prefers it that way. Samuel wants to eliminate the Rams from the postseason. Passing Jerry Rice is just added motivation.

San Francisco is on an improbable run to the Super Bowl

It’s been a roller coaster 2021 season for the San Francisco 49ers. They entered the year with plans on competing for the NFC West crown. However, early-season woes put a damper on those expectations. Still, this is a resilient bunch, and Kyle Shanahan’s crew proved it in the second half of the season.

The Niners won their first two games but lost the next four in a row. San Francisco appeared to be having an identity crisis. Shanahan was on the hot seat, regularly fielding questions about the Jimmy Garoppolo-Trey Lance quarterback saga. Maybe, the 49ers just weren’t that good.

Well, San Francisco began to turn things around as the season progressed. The team got back to the basics — running the football and playing physical defense. By re-establishing their identity, the Niners climbed their way back into playoff contention.

Fittingly, the 49ers needed to beat the LA Rams in the season finale to clinch a wild-card berth. Deebo Samuel and company squeaked out a 27-24 victory in overtime to punch their ticket. They’ve since played the role of spoiler in the postseason, upsetting the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.

A win over the Rams would allow San Francisco to carry their improbable run to Super Bowl LVI.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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