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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Baldinger: Brandon Aiyuk is a fearless blocker, 49ers’ best receiver

Sep 12, 2023 at 9:22 AM--

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Brandon Aiyuk decleated Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Damontae Kazee on a block that helped launch running back Christian McCaffrey on a 65-yard touchdown run on Sunday. It was an impressive block by the San Francisco 49ers' fourth-year wide receiver, who never shies away from a big hit.

"Well, he lit Kazee up," analyst Brian Baldinger said Tuesday morning on 95.7 The Game's "The Morning Roast" show. "I mean, you just don't see wide receivers light a guy up like that. I mean, he sent him airborne. Everybody saw it. Everybody saw it on the sideline. And then everybody in the locker room was basically saying to themselves, I can't wait to watch this tomorrow. Like, everybody wants to see it.

"But that block was, because it was in the middle of the field, and it's the second play of the third quarter, and they put the game on ice on that play, that will get a lot of attention. But if you watch just him seal the edge of the line of scrimmage on toss crack to get Trent Williams out, like the blocks at the line of scrimmage, he's fearless when it comes to blocking. ... He's not afraid to get dirty and get at the line of scrimmage and go pick off linebackers or defensive ends.

"The highlight tape is the highlight tape on that touchdown run. But there's four or five other blocks he made in the game that were really good, that sprung McCaffrey."

Aiyuk also hauled in two touchdown passes from quarterback Brock Purdy, finishing the contest with a game-leading 129 receiving yards and catching all eight of his targets.

"He's their best receiver," Baldinger declared. "He's a great route runner. The art of route running is this, because it's not complicated. It's can you make sudden moves without ever losing speed? So it could be a head fake. It could be like you're going to an out, but you're going in. It could be, I'm going to the post, but I'm cutting it off right here and going 90 degrees the other direction.

"Can you make subtle moves and subtle changes in your route without ever losing speed? And that's body control, and that's what he has. And he's got very quick hands, fast hands to be able to snatch the ball."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Baldinger below.

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