Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Deebo Samuel to Kyle Shanahan before TD run vs. Cowboys: ‘Just give me the ball. I got you.’

Jan 16, 2022 at 10:15 PM--

Deebo Samuel has become a very confident player for the San Francisco 49ers. He is willing to do whatever it takes to get the football in his hands and make a play. Samuel is a wide receiver but lines up as a running back too. He led the 49ers with eight rushing touchdowns this season.

Samuel had another rushing touchdown during Sunday's 23-17 playoff win against the Dallas Cowboys. That one was impressive, as it involved Samuel improvising on the play and turning back inside to get into the end zone. That wasn't how the play was drawn up, by the way.

"It was unbelievable," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "It's not at all where we thought the play would go, where it's designed to go."

Shanahan knows he has a special player in Samuel. The versatile offensive weapon has become a headache for opposing defenders. The head coach noted the receiver's toughness, athletic ability, and field vision as reasons for his impressive play. The touchdown run against the Cowboys showed all of that.

"Usually he goes outside, but he stopped, reversed the field, and if he gets a lane, he's running through everyone's arm tackles," Shanahan continued.

"It was just a little sweep in front of Jimmy," Samuel explained, "and they kind of overplayed it, and I played it kind of slow and just seemed to cut back and just hit it."

Shanahan added, "It's usually meant to go outside. It's never meant to go back the opposite part of the field. Your blocking down and getting around, but they overplayed it a little bit, and Deebo made them pay."

The touchdown run came after cornerback K'Waun Williams intercepted Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott. When the offense started to head onto the field, Samuel turned to his head coach to demand the football. He was ready to make a big play in the pivotal moment.

"Deebo's been a stud all year, as everyone knows," Shanahan continued, "and right before he went out there, he just mouthed something to me, which I kind of guessed it was, 'Give me the ball.' When I look at him talking that way, it's extremely motivating, and he makes it a lot easier to call plays."

Shanahan was correct. Samuel was asking for the football. One player witnessed the exchange between the player and coach.

"I literally saw it happen," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo told reporters. "We were walking on the field together, me and Deebo, and I saw him look at Kyle. He had that look in his eye, and Kyle made a great call, let the guy go make a play."

Samuel clarified exactly what he said to Shanahan before the 26-yard touchdown run.

"When K'Waun got the interception, I looked at Kyle, I was like, 'Hey, just give me the ball. I got you,'" Samuel said. "So I just went out there, and the next play, I scored."

With the Cowboys eliminated, the 49ers will begin preparing for next weekend's game at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers.

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