Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Rice impressed with Brandon Aiyuk, disappointed by 49ers’ mistakes vs. Saints

Nov 16, 2020 at 9:26 AM--

Rookie wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk finished Sunday's game with seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't nearly enough, though, to help carry his San Francisco 49ers to a victory over the heavily-favored New Orleans Saints. Still, the rookie continues to impress Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice.

"He was killing it yesterday," Rice said Monday morning on 95.7 The Game's The Morning Roast. "... He got his fifth touchdown (receiving and rushing)."

The play Aiyuk scored off of looked familiar to Rice.

"I have scored off that Sprint Right Option so many, many times," Rice explained. "What happens is, the second you come in motion, it determines if it's going to be man-to-man or it's going to be zone. If the guy goes with you, you know it's man-to-man. Now, you've just got to somehow beat that guy. If you can beat him, you have the opportunity where you can score.

"But [Aiyuk is] really coming into his own. He's having a good time on the football field."

Of course, other than a spectacular catch and strong performance by tight end Jordan Reed, there wasn't much else worth praising on offense. And mental blunders really stole away a win that the Saints looked willing to gift to the 49ers.

"You can't have turnovers, and on special teams, we had turnovers," Rice commented. "And also, Nick Mullens, he had two interceptions."

Rice felt the 49ers had a chance to win, despite entering the game as 9.5-point underdogs. Yes, the team has suffered a ridiculous amount of injuries this season — to the point where the roster is almost unrecognizable when compared to the start of the season — but the Hall of Famer knows you can't place all of the blame on that.

"You've still got to be able to fight through that," Rice explained. "Any time you step on the football field, you feel like you have a legitimate chance of winning. You can't just shoot yourself in your own foot. You can't make those mistakes.

"I feel like the Niners had a chance of really doing something special yesterday, and it's all about finishing. That's the most important thing. You've got to be able to finish. ... You know [the Saints], they have the firepower to make a run or come back. You've got to keep going for the throat. And that's what I didn't see yesterday."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Rice below.

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