Aiyuk not only delivered two touchdowns in the 38-10 romp of the Arizona Cardinals, he unfortunately had one touchdown celebration that came at the expense of nearly taking out a cameraman.
Here was the moment that led to a humorous apology: Aiyuk scores his second touchdown and throws the football in jubilation. However, his over-excitement got the football to gravitate toward cameraman Nick Schebetta…who was hit below the stomach.
Christian McCaffrey is the first to check in on Schebetta. George Kittle also runs over to ensure he’s OK. Then, Aiyuk himself came over for a long embrace with Schebetta.
Schebetta already has familiarity with the 49ers: He’s in their video department as a senior producer.
According to his LinkedIn, he’s worked with the Niners as a producer since 2017 and was elevated to his senior role in July 2021. He also graduated from the University of San Francisco with a media studies degree.
Turns out according to NBC Sports Bay Area, Schebetta was already dealing with another ailment.
“Schebetta nearly being hit in the mid-region was the least of the possible injury, considering NBC Sports Bay Area’s reported that the cameraman was already working hurt due to food poisoning,” Jarrod Castillo of NBC Sports Bay Area wrote.
Castillo’s colleague Matt Maiocco not only provided his own update, but encouraged Schebetta gets a specialty gift following the game.
“Update: Thankfully, Nick Schebetta was on the ball and moved his mid region just enough as Aiyuk’s throw was coming at him to avert a severe injury to his…well, you know. Oh, and Nick was already playing hurt Monday night due to food poisoning. Give that man a game ball!” Maiocco tweeted out.
Maiocco added: “I failed to mention that Nick has worked for the #49ers for a while. He’s a senior producer in their video department. All the players know him and, obviously, like him. Thus, their reactions.”
Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area also gave her reaction and was glad to see Schebetta’s name wasn’t on a certain report.
“Thank goodness Nick Schebetta wasn’t on the post game injury report. Cat-like reflexes kept him from being in too much discomfort,” Chan tweeted. “And food poisoning on top of it all. What a performance!”
Aiyuk ‘Cooked’ Someone on Field
The jubilation gone wrong was the only time Aiyuk had to apology to someone on the wrong end of his celebration.
But Aiyuk unapologetically torched one cornerback during the game — earning praise from the 49ers Twitterverse.
On his first touchdown, Aiyuk drew man coverage on seven-year cornerback Antonio Hamilton. Aiyuk busts out the “whip” route — reverse pivoting to his right, then accelerating out of his break to the left…leaving Hamilton with a large gap between he and the 49ers receiver. The end result is six points for Aiyuk and the 49ers. Or as @Coach_YAC on Twitter hailed it, Aiyuk “cooked” the defender.
That route Aiyuk busted has gained popularity over the years — with Pro Bowlers Cooper Kupp and Hunter Renfrow using similar moves or as some call it, the “flat China” route.
Aiyuk, in general, has risen in the ranks among 49er receivers. Monday’s two touchdown night became his second multiple touchdown game this season. And, he’s the leading receiver on the 49ers with 46 catches, 587 yards and six touchdowns.