Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Shanahan: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel’s game-clinching run ‘as impressive as I’ve ever seen’

Oct 18, 2020 at 11:52 PM--

With the game on the line for the San Francisco 49ers in their 24-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, it was wide receiver Deebo Samuel who stepped up with what might go down as one of the team's biggest plays of the year.

Coming out of the two-minute warning, the 49ers faced a third-and-seven from their own 38-yard line with no Rams timeouts remaining. A first down meant the 49ers would be able to run out the clock and earn a huge win after a demoralizing 43-17 loss to the Miami Dolphins the week before.

Enter Samuel, who got the ball on a flip pass play the 49ers had been running with success throughout the evening. Samuel weaved his way through the Rams defense close to a first down, then plowed through some defenders to make sure the job got done.

Samuel scored the first touchdown of the game on a similar play and also had success early in the game when he took a toss from Garoppolo and turned it into a long gain. But his third down run stood out more than any of them, according to head coach Kyle Shanahan.

"That last run that Deebo had was as impressive a run as I've ever seen," Shanahan said after the game. "I thought we blocked it for about seven yards, then three guys tried to bring it on Deebo and he just stayed up and finished the play and got three more and allowed us to go out there and take a knee. It was very impressive all day on that, especially the way he finished I thought it was his best one."

Samuel said he took a bit of punishment on the play but was planning from the get-go to make sure he was going to do whatever he needed to do to get the first down.

"I'm not going to lie, it kind of hurt a little bit, but you know I do what it takes for this team," Samuel said. "But it was just great to seal the win, knowing they didn't have any timeouts. In the huddle, Jimmy (quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo) was like, 'We need you to make a play right here and don't go out of bounds.' I never go out of bounds anyway, so I was like, 'Jimmy, I got you.' Then I just went out there and executed."

The play certainly served its purpose for the 49ers throughout the game, as it helped Garoppolo ease into the game and establish a rhythm early while leading them to seal the deal late.

"It was huge for us tonight," Shanahan said. "Starting out the game I think it was the second play of the game, then he scored on that same drive down there. It's just the same run play we've been doing for a while. It's always nice to get Deebo involved on it. When you do it, the difference with it is our halfbacks kind of become the fullback on the play, so I thought they did a good job too running that."

And chances are the 49ers will be doing a lot more of it in the future, especially now that Samuel is back at full strength after being sidelined early in the season with a foot injury.

"It's a different type of play but it's all around the NFL now," Garoppolo said. "Deebo, I think he's the best at the league at it. He runs like a running back, has moves like a receiver. It's unique what he can do with the ball in his hands."

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