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49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk explains why Week 18 role was frustrating

Mar 29, 2024 at 11:07 AM--

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San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk caught three passes for 25 yards in the team's Week 18 regular-season finale against the Los Angeles Rams. The game held little significance as both teams had already clinched playoff spots, with the 49ers already securing the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage.

Aiyuk didn't have to play but suited up because the 49ers needed to field a team. However, it sounds like Aiyuk would have preferred to sit out the matchup. During an appearance on "The Nightcap" podcast, he elaborated on his sentiments with former NFL players Shannon Sharpe and Chad Ochocinco.

RELATED Brandon Aiyuk: "I'm trying to get what I deserve"

Despite finishing the season with a team-leading 1,342 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, marking his second consecutive season surpassing the 1,000-yard mark, Aiyuk expressed frustration. His 17.9 yards per reception ranked second only to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens.

"I'm leading it the whole entire year, YPC (yards per catch)," Aiyuk explained. "Last game in the season. I think Pickens didn't have no catch in the last game of the season. Last game of the season, [QB Brock] Purdy ain't play. They sent me out there, and I lost it in the last week. So I'm mad about that one."

Although the extra 25 receiving yards on three catches in Week 18 wouldn't have significantly altered his yardage total, throwing out that production would have resulted in Aiyuk averaging 18.3 yards per reception for the season, securing him the top spot in the league.

It's unlikely such a trivial statistic will influence his offseason negotiations with the 49ers for a contract extension. Aiyuk emphasizes that his consistent production and strong work ethic are the true indicators of his value, affirming, "I'm trying to get what I deserve."

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