First the obvious, San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel had another monster game in Week 10.
Samuel caught all five of his targets for 97 yards on Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Rams, including a 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that sealed the 31-10 Niners win well before the final whistle. He also had five carries for 36 yards and an 8-yard score. His smash-mouth yards as a tailback were a key part of the team’s first drive that culminated in a touchdown and set the tone early that San Francisco was playing to save its season.
When Week 10’s must-win was over, not only were San Francisco’s playoffs hopes still alive, but Samuel made his case on national TV that he’s the best wide receiver in the league.
Samuel completely outshined Rams WR Cooper Kupp. Kupp leads the league in receptions with 85 and receiving yards with 1,141 and had another big game on Monday. He caught 11 of 13 targets for 122 yards, but most his production came with the outcome of the game already decided. To say the receivers had the same impact on the game would be a gross overstatement.
Injured 49ers RB Raheem Mostert tweeted during the game what a lot of people are starting to talk about: Samuel might be the best receiver in the game.
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Deebo’s Bully Play Befitting ‘Friday’ Persona
Fans are having fun while Samuel racks up stats.
As NFL Network Reporter Kevin Patra pointed out in his November 16 article on the game, Next Gen Stats credited Samuel with earning 58 yards after the catch on plays where he was expected to earn just 12 yards. Instead of settling for the small amounts, Samuel took a whopping 46 yards after the catch over the expectation.
His toughness – and name, of course – has earned Samuel praise in the form of a comparison to the bully character in the 1995 Ice Cube and Chris Tucker movie “Friday.” That Deebo rode his bicycle around a South Central Los Angeles neighborhood, scaring people witless while he snatched their gold chains, cleaned out their pockets, and sometimes just knocked them out with his fist.
San Francisco’s Deebo just plain runs over people. Either way, most good jokes have a hint of humor. Deebo – the real one- is a bit of a bully.
Samuel, as Patra’s piece pointed out, is averaging 115.2 scrimmage YPG this season, third in the NFL and most by a WR. But he also leads the league in in-breaking route yards, with 568, according to Next Gen Stats.
That’s to say Samuel leads the league in the tough yards, the yards earned over the middle of the field. It takes a strong dude to lay claim to that.
So when Samuel celebrated his big night on Monday by wearing a massive gold chain on the sideline – an homage to the movie character – fans were ready to take part in the fun by posting clips of their favorite “Friday” scenes.
Samuel’s Stats Back Up League’s Best Claim
If it’s just stats that make you the league’s best, Samuel has those as well.
Samuel has 54 receptions for 979 yards and is averaging 18.1 yards a reception, per NFL.com. Reporter Rob Lowder put that big-chunk play statistic into perspective with his November 15 tweet. Samuel’s right behind Kupp in yardage with far fewer receptions.
It’s always more than just stats, however. The best player at his position doesn’t need a flashy movie persona to back up his on-field production, but he does need the respect of his peers. Samuel has that in spades. Niners Nation Senior Reporter Keiana Martin captured the respect Samuel was earning from his NFL peers during the impressive win.
Now past the halfway point in the season, the rest of the football world is on alert that Samuel may be the best receiver in the league. It was something that was whispered around the Bay Area, but now, thanks to Monday’s explosion, the talk is getting louder.