Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


It doesn’t matter what you think about the 49ers wide receivers!

Dec 12, 2019 at 10:19 AM0


The San Francisco 49ers' passing game has come alive for the past seven games.

When 49ers All-Pro tight end George Kittle broke Rob Gronkowski's receiving record by a tight end last season, it put him in the discussion of being the best tight end in the NFL.

Since the team made the trade for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in Week 8, and the emergence of Deebo Samuel and Kendrick Bourne, we could be witnessing the start of the NFL's version of "The Four Horsemen" or "The 49er Horsemen".

This would not be the biblical or Marvel Comics version of "The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse," but the wrestling faction which consisted of arguably the greatest heavyweight wrestling champion of all-time — "The Nature Boy," Ric Flair, "The Enforcer" Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Ole Anderson, who caused destruction in the NWA.

On September 24's WWE's Smackdown, Kittle, who is a known wrestling fan, was impersonating "The People's Champion," Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

Kittle is as flashy and outgoing as "The Nature Boy." Sanders, the veteran, would be the enforcer of the group like Arn Anderson. Bourne and Samuel, who are starting to make names for themselves, are like Blanchard and Ole Anderson.

During Monday's press conference, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said the better Samuel, Bourne, and Sanders have gotten, the better the team's offense has been.

"Emmanuel obviously had a late start and Deebo being a rookie and Bourne throwing him at a number of different spots that we have in the past," Shanahan said. "I think those guys have gone through some ups and downs throughout the year, but they've fought through it all, and they've gotten better. The way that they've competed in the run game and the pass game, and that's why we've kept them out there a lot more."

Before the Sanders trade, the 49ers were averaging 214.5 yards per game. After the trade, the 49ers passing game averaged 261 yards per game.

Samuel became the first 49ers rookie since Jerry Rice to post back-to-back 110-yard receiving games and has proven to be a hard player to cover while Bourne became a red-zone threat and lead the team in receiving touchdowns with five.

"Bourne is the new-age Cris Carter," said TJ Houshmandzadeh of "Speak for Yourself" and former Cincinnati Bengal's wide receiver. "Just put him in the red zone, and all he does is catch touchdowns."

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo smiled at his Wednesday press conference when talking about the third-year receiver.

"He (Bourne) is a good instinctive player who, if the initial play isn't there or a little off-schedule, he has no problem working," said Garoppolo. "He puts his hands up, you know, all those little things that you do when the play breaks down. He's phenomenal at it."

With Jimmy G's passing average going up and establishing a dominant passing game, the former Eastern Illinois quarterback's touchdowns have gone from throwing seven in the first six games to 18 in the past seven games.

Skip Bayless of the TV show "Undisputed" said the addition of Sanders could be the move of the year in the NFC.

"Emanuel Sanders has changed life in San Francisco the same way Amari Cooper changed life in Dallas (Cowboys) last season," Bayless said.

During the segment, Bayless called Kittle the best tight end in the league and gave credit to Samuel and Bourne.

The "People's Tight end," by the way, leads the team with 754 receiving yards.

"Have you watched Deebo Samuel?" Bayless asked. "He has come out of nowhere. He is electrifying. Have you watched Kendrick Bourne? Every time I look up, he is in the end zone holding the football because he caught another pass."

The question is, where would second-year backup tight end Ross Dwelley, who did a serviceable job when Kittle missed two games with an ankle injury, be? Would he be like "The Four Horsemen's" manager, James J. Dillion?

What about the other 49ers receivers, such as Dante Pettis, if he finally plays up to his potential?

What if Richie James Jr. can come into his own outside of being a special-teams return man?

What if Jalen Hurd, Marquise Goodwin, and Trent Taylor, who are on injured reserve, come back healthy?

Would this turn "The 49er Horsemen" into a "49er Nation of Domination"?

The 49ers' next game is on December 15 against the Atlanta Falcons, which rank No. 24 in pass defense.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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