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49ers Notebook: Brandon Aiyuk’s highlight performance; What did Nick Bosa say to Baker Mayfield?; Chase Young raves about 49ers atmosphere

Nov 19, 2023 at 8:46 PM--

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The 49ers moved to 7-3 on Sunday with a 27-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that featured a number of memorable moments.

Two of them were produced by wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, who had a day for the highlight reel, and defensive end Nick Bosa, who produced more entertaining moments with Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield.

We've got a look at both of those topics in this edition of 49ers Notebook, as well as what 49ers defensive end Chase Young said after the game about his new team. Let's get into it...

Aiyuk leads the way for 49ers pass catchers vs. Buccaneers

In a day of big performances for the 49ers, one that stood out from the pack was that of Aiyuk, who finished with five receptions for 156 yards and one touchdown.

Aiyuk's touchdown catch went for 76 yards, which for a brief time was the longest touchdown reception in the NFL this season. It was quickly surpassed by Buffalo Bills receiver Khalil Shakir, who had an 81-yard touchdown catch against the New York Jets on Sunday.

49ers players were thrilled about Aiyuk's performance, as was head coach Kyle Shanahan, who told reporters Sunday that Aiyuk is "still improving" as a wide receiver. After being selected in Round 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft, Aiyuk saw his playing time drop early in his second season while going through what Shanahan referred to on Sunday as "coaching."

"BA has been great," Shanahan said. A lot was made out of it because everyone talked doghouse in training camp which thought I was a little confused with just coaching. He was never in anyone's doghouse.

"We were just coaching him, and BA going back to those years, he was one of our best players halfway through that year and one of the main reasons we went to the NFC Championship and got better last year. He's been better this offseason, and when you're getting better doesn't always show for a receiver because stats and all those results are dependent of a lot of other people. But BA's been playing some good football for a while and it's really cool when he gets rewarded with those numbers."

Aiyuk is now putting together a Pro Bowl-caliber season, with 43 catches for 831 yards and four touchdowns through 10 games. He's on pace to shatter his career high in single-season yardage, which was set last season when he caught 78 passes for 1,015 yards and eight touchdowns.

"The last like two and a half years, Brandon's only gotten better every single day," tight end George Kittle said Sunday. "You see what he does at practice every day, training camp, OTAs, shows up just ready to roll. I'm very happy for him.

"I always talk about my favorite thing is just seeing guys take advantage of their opportunity. It's awesome... He's a fantastic football player. He runs routes the right way, has the right mindset every single day. So, very happy for him and very happy for the 49ers."

The 76-yard touchdown was part of a standout performance for quarterback Brock Purdy, who finished with 333 yards on 21-of-25 passing with three touchdowns, zero interceptions, and a perfect passer rating of 158.3. No one was happier than Purdy about Aiyuk's success on Sunday.

"He had a go route and I just let him really give him some time to beat his guy and then just put the ball up for him and try to lead him," Purdy said. "And he did a great job winning and man-to-man coverage. And right when we saw his guy fall down and BA caught it, I was like, man, that's sweet.

"You don't get that many plays like that in a game. So it felt good for all of us and BA, he deserves it, man. We've been wanting to get a deep one for him for a while, so it felt good."

Hopefully Aiyuk will get more chances at long touchdowns as the year progresses. If he does, he'll be more prepared for what to do celebration-wise than he was on Sunday.

"I haven't seen it yet," Aiyuk said. "I'm ready to watch the tape and see it. That's the longest touchdown of my career, so I didn't know what to do."

Happy to be here

Defensive end Chase Young continued to make an impact for the 49ers Sunday, collecting two tackles, one sack and one quarterback hit in his second game with the team since being traded from the Washington Commanders.

Young has fit in well with the 49ers on and off the field and has certainly given the pass rush a needed boost. Young conducted an interview with NBC Sports Bay Area after the game on Sunday, during which former 49ers safety Donte Whitner asked him if he had a similar feeling coming to the 49ers as Whitner did when he joined the team in the 2000s after playing with the Buffalo Bills -- one where it felt like his NFL career was getting a boost after coming to a contender.

"You're hitting it right on the head -- just everything to the training staff to the people here, they're just genuine and nice," Young said. "It's just a good atmosphere, definitely. They take care of their players, and I'm loving that."

The 49ers now have nine total sacks since bringing Young aboard. Eight of them have come from the defensive line.

"This front four, we play together," Young said. "That's one thing I will say. If Nick (Bosa) knows I'm coming, I know he's coming. If Grave (DT Javon Hargrave) knows I'm coming, I know he's coming. It's like we all synch in. We're really just having fun out there. You see it today -- (Mayfield) was getting the ball out pretty fast, but he was definitely under a lot of distress."

Bosa vs. Mayfield Round 2

The rivalry between Nick Bosa and Baker Mayfield has been well-documented, going back to the two players' college days when Mayfield and the Oklahoma Sooners beat Bosa's Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio, after which Mayfield planted a flag in the middle of the Ohio Stadium turf. Bosa followed that up when Mayfield was with the Browns, after which Bosa mimicked Mayfield's flag-planting motion following a takedown.

There was no flag planting to be seen on Sunday, but the two of them still had some fun back-and-forth moments nonetheless.

The first one came in the first half, when Mayfield was seen blocking Bosa and afterwards raised his arms in celebration. Bosa wasn't about to give Mayfield too much credit for the block when asked about it after the game.

"That was not him," Bosa said. "That was the speed of number 10. But I let him have that."

Bosa later got some payback when he was in on a sack that resulted in a fumble. Then, later in the game, Bosa was seen saying some words to Mayfield after Mayfield was speaking to an official. What exactly did Bosa say?

"He was bitching to the ref, and I told him there's no horse collar in the pocket. He thought he got roughed," Bosa said.

The rivalry between Bosa and Mayfield doesn't seem to be overly heated, as Bosa called Mayfield "nice" last week. Tight end George Kittle gave his take on Bosa and Mayfield after Sunday's game and was complimentary towards the Buccaneers' quarterback.

"I bet you Nick was just trying to not get a penalty or fined for hitting a quarterback," Kittle said. "That's probably what it was. But you know what the thing about Baker is, man? He's an absolute competitor. And you can just tell by the way he plays, especially like this year with the Bucs, he's having so much fun. And especially when you have (wide receivers) Mike Evans and (Chris) Godwin, you got some elite receivers and you can just tell he's having fun out there because he is a competitive dude.

"And yes, if it was my choice, I would probably not hit Nick Bosa, just for your own health and safety. But that's just the type of player Baker is. Kyle talked about him so much his entire week about how he's just a competitor who he's not going to give up and he's going to try his best to win the game. And those are types of guys you want to be on your team."

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