Brandon Aiyuk a rare bright spot during 49ers loss to Falcons
By Peter Panacy
The shorthanded 49ers lost ugly to the Falcons in Week 6, but Brandon Aiyuk’s statement performance is one of the few positive takeaways.
For the most part, the San Francisco 49ers and their fans would probably like to forget almost everything about the embarrassing 28-14 Week 6 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
Yes, that game in which Atlanta looked like a bona fide playoff contender and the Niners looked like they’d be vying for a top-10 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
OK, so there are plenty of reasons why that debacle played out the way it did, and that’s fine. San Francisco is certainly going to criticize itself for the missed opportunities and gaffes throughout the four quarters of action.
However, one player who should be praised is third-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.
With the Falcons shifting a good chunk of their defensive attention on fellow wideout Deebo Samuel, Week 6 ended up being Aiyuk’s time to shine.
And he delivered.
Brandon Aiyuk delivers 49ers all their scoring offense vs. Falcons
Plenty of criticism will center on how the 49ers managed a mere 14 points against one of the league’s poorer offenses on Sunday, including another example of failing to find the end zone after halftime.
Aiyuk, however, was the scoring offense for Shanahan and Co., hauling in both touchdowns, including this impressive route-running move that got him open and in for the score:
Despite the Niners’ offensive woes during the contest, Week 6 proved to be a season-best game for Aiyuk thus far, one in which he had eight receptions on 11 targets for 83 yards and the two touchdowns.
However, after the game, Aiyuk was more focused on the wider team effort and not his individual accolades, telling reporters the following:
"It took us a while to get going. Just too many mistakes starting off the game. Turning the ball over early and playing from behind the whole game. We played a team that comes in with the mindset to run the ball, and they do that well. It’s kind of hard to come back. Never got the rhythm on offense going, there were a lot of mistakes."
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San Francisco will need more of this from Aiyuk, especially with teams looking to lock up Samuel as much as possible.
And if he ends up delivering with the kind of performance he had against Atlanta, combined with the 49ers offense regaining some momentum for a change, there’s no reason to believe what happened in Week 6 will be a sign of things to come.