Before the San Francisco 49ers took on the Chicago Bears on Sunday, October 31 with a four-game losing streak in tow, wide receiver Deebo Samuel was considered the lone bright spot on offense — and was on pace to become a 100-catch, 1,000-yard wideout.
Now, Samuel has earned this online label: The man who may have saved the 49ers’ season.
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Samuel went off for 6 catches and 171 yards as the 49ers ended their losing streak against the Bears.
If Samuel was channeling his inner Tommy “Tiny” Lister Jr., who first popularized the name “Deebo” as the chain-snatching bully from the 1995 hit film “Friday,” this Deebo was zipping through the Bears’ secondary like he was on a bike and snatching souls in the process.
Samuel delivered a breakout afternoon. And two plays in particular showed Samuel breezing past the Bears in the Windy City.
The Before Halftime Snag
The 49ers were down 13-6 with time wilting away in the second quarter.
The offense was stagnant and carried over its woes from the quartet of consecutive losses — with a missed field goal on the opening drive, deep opportunities that fell incomplete and no 50-yard completions…
Until Samuel pulled through.
With the Bears rushing four defenders in the trenches, plus the nearest cover cornerback responsible for Samuel Kindle Vildor playing with a 7-yard cushion, Jimmy Garoppolo uncorked a bomb down the deep right. Vildor stayed attached to Samuel’s back…but Samuel came down with the crucial big play here:
That play gave the ‘Niners one more field goal opportunity to close out the half and give the road team the momentum heading into the second half.
The fans took to Twitter immediately, with one calling that play a “dime.”
Another fan who didn’t expect Samuel to break out the way he did in this tweet.
Then another who became a believer in Jimmy G’s arm in this post.
One more fan then gave Samuel this label:
This tweet from The Athletic that showed Samuel surpassed 49ers legend Jerry Rice in one rare category:
Meanwhile, 49ers Web Zone writer and No Huddle Podcast host Al Sacco began to believe that Samuel may have saved the 49ers’ season:
And this NFL writer also began to wonder the same:
Samuel, however, wasn’t through.
The Third Quarter Catch-and-Run
After the Bears opened the third quarter by adding three through a field goal, the ‘Niners found themselves down 16-9, facing a 3rd and 20 from behind the Chicago 20-yard line and needing something to ensure they weren’t going to return to the Bay Area on a five-game losing streak.
And who did they turn to on what was a simple tunnel screen, but became the prelude to a 49ers’ rally? Samuel himself.
With three wideouts to the left and the 49er linemen allowing brief penetration to Jimmy G, the QB immediately fired the ball to Samuel — and the third-year wide receiver began to play “catch me if you can.”
There was this additional view of the catch-and-run:
Samuel was ruled down at the Chicago 1-yard line. Garoppolo eventually punched in the ball into the end zone to cut the lead to 16-15.
More Twitter love erupted for Samuel after that catch:
And now, Samuel’s breakout day puts him on pace for this NFL record:
But here’s the importance of that momentum-snatching play by Samuel: The 49ers eventually never trailed after that catch. San Francisco went on to outscore the Bears 24-9 following Samuel’s 83-yard reception.
For a team that needed any kind of saving from their personal distress, this Deebo rode his wheels to snatch victory away from the Bears.