Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

49ers hope Brandon Aiyuk’s ‘great week’ of practice carries over to Colts game, says Deebo Samuel

Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 22, 2021 at 4:09 PM--

Brandon Aiyuk has certainly been in the spotlight over the 49ers bye week, as his lack of touches on the year has been questioned, given his impressive rookie season.

Aiyuk currently has just 15 targets on the year, good for 5th on the team, and only eight of those plays have resulted in a catch. Last year, Aiyuk accumulated 60 receptions, 748 yards, and five touchdowns, leading the team in all three categories while playing in just 12 games.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will return to the field Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts and has had the chance to practice with Aiyuk and the first-team offense after being cleared for the calf injury he sustained against the Seattle Seahawks.

Amongst that first-team offense is breakout star receiver Deebo Samuel, who had nothing but high praise for Aiyuk following his strong week of practice leading up to the Sunday Night showdown.

"I just feel like [Aiyuk] just has to do exactly what he did all week, this week of practice," Samuel said. "Just getting back to himself, getting his confidence back, just going out there and making plays. He had a great week of practice, and we [were] very proud of how he came out there this week and showcased who he really [is] and who we know he is to be."

Samuel has seen flashes of Aiyuk's potential this week in practice, and hopes that performance will continue against the Colts.

"We just know what Brandon's capable of, and the type of player that he actually is, and it shows this week," Samuel said. "And hopefully, it will carry over to Sunday."

While it may have taken a while for Aiyuk to click, Samuel and the coaching staff have restored that confidence in him, which Deebo believes has finally reached Aiyuk this week.

"I wouldn't say it's advice," Samuel said. "I would say it's just the energy that I can go to him and talk to, and he kind of reacts the way I want him to react. It didn't click at first. But now, as time went by, and him talking to Kyle and John, and all the other guys knowing what type of player he is, and just telling him, 'Just go out there and be yourself,' it's just carried over now. And you can tell, at practice this week, it just showed up."

The 2020 first-round pick will need to be a focal point for Jimmy Garoppolo against a pass-defense that ranks 29th in the NFL in DVOA, especially with tight end George Kittle still on IR.

A win for the 49ers would improve their season record to 3-3 and put them on an upward trend heading to Chicago to face the Bears in Week 8. But, in order for that to happen, playmakers like Aiyuk will need to step up and shoulder the load Sunday Night.

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