Deebo Samuel effectively took over the 49ers’ Week 10 prime-time win over the Rams on Monday night, and he’s turning into the team’s MVP hands down.
But none of them are bigger than wide receiver Deebo Samuel.
The Niners received plenty of top-end contributions in the victory, but Samuel’s 133 all-purpose yards, two touchdowns and the variety of ways he impacted the offense easily made him the standout from the game in front of a national audience.
Player rivalries aside, and including Samuel’s Week 10 performance, it’s safe to say the third-year wideout has been San Francisco’s most valuable player this season.
Deebo Samuel stays high on NFL 2021 receiving list
Samuel led all 49ers pass-catchers on Monday night with 97 receiving yards on five catches, one of his two touchdowns coming on a fourth-down 40-yard catch-and-run score that effectively “put the nail” in Los Angeles’ coffin during the game:
His long catch of the night in the bag, Samuel’s 2021 receiving yards are now at 979 on the season, trailing only Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp’s 1,141, the latter pass-catcher having played one more game with the Niners already having their bye this season.
Samuel is, however, averaging 108.8 receiving yards per game this season, and he’s currently on pace to record 1,849 receiving yards in 2021.
The last time San Francisco had a 1,000-yard receiver was back in 2014 with Anquan Boldin when he had 1,062.
Samuel could reach that mark in Week 11 when the 49ers visit the two-win Jacksonville Jaguars.
Deebo Samuel isn’t just 49ers MVP because of stats, it’s how he’s used
Week 10 showcased more than just Samuel’s receiving skills and ability to generate an inordinate amount of yards after the catch.
Fans saw plenty of signs during Samuel’s rookie season when head coach Kyle Shanahan would feature the second-round NFL Draft pick on jet sweeps and end-arounds, often generating some big gains.
Now, those are still in Samuel’s toolkit. In addition, Samuel is getting opportunities to impact the ground game from virtually anywhere on the field, as this Next Gen Stats chart from Monday night shows:
The receiving chart is one thing. Samuel’s rushing prowess, including snaps where he was lined up as a true running back, tell something else.
Read More: 49ers grades from Week 10 smashing of Rams
That kind of versatility is proving to be exceptionally valuable for the Niners’ offensive efforts this season.
Shanahan has long strived to get “positionless” football into his offense, and a number of his players epitomize this. But few have done it as well as Samuel, and no one is having as much of an impact on offense this season.
If San Francisco wants to get back into the playoff discussion and stay there, Samuel will have to continue playing at a team-MVP level.