49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk named NFC’s offensive player of Week 1

Brandon Aiyuk caught two touchdown passes early in Sunday’s opener in Pittsburgh against the Steelers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Brandon Aiyuk, along with Jerry Rice and Anquan Boldin, are the only 49ers wide receivers to win NFC Player of the Week in a preseason game.

Aiyuk received his first career award on Wednesday for his outstanding performance in the 49ers’ 30-7 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday.

“It was definitely cool,” said Aiyuk. “Do I get something in return for that?”

Nothing more than a line on an expanding resume. For more information on Aiyuk’s historic debut, visit:

— He caught eight passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns, a career high. It was his third multi-touchdown game and fifth 100-yard game of his career, but never in the same game.

— The last 49ers wide receiver with a 100-yard game in an opener was Deebo Samuel (189 yards) against Detroit in 2021.

— J.J. Stokes was the last 49ers wide receiver to have more than 100 yards and two touchdowns in a season opener (111 yards, two scores against the New York Jets in 1998).

— Aiyuk’s down-field block, followed by Ray-Ray McCloud’s, added to Christian McCaffrey’s 65-yard touchdown run to start the second half and seal the blowout.

How did you feel when you saw those blocks on the 49ers’ highlights? “It was exciting, and it was lit.” “Everyone was pumped,” Aiyuk said. “Those are the types of plays that get our team going.”

Coach Kyle Shanahan said the blocks were “awesome,” but not enough to merit a ceremonial gameball, “because that’s what we expect.” “I feel like that’s what those guys do every time they play,” Shanahan explained. “Those guys run hard every time they play. It just so happened that Christian broke one, putting them in the spotlight as the lead blocker. So far, it appears to be very cool.”

When asked about Aiyuk’s efforts, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, “Some of his exploits had to do with our desire to minimize Kittle, Deebo, and Christian.” But that is what makes awesome units difficult. They have a lot of capable players who can step up and make plays when others are distracted.”

Aiyuk, who had a career-high 1,105 yards last season, took issue with others overlooking him among the 49ers’ talented group in March. “1k as the 4th option in a run-first offense I’m as genuine as it gets get word to Lil baby and est gee!” I’m always ready to take a stand on business. In March, Aiyuk tweeted, “Year 4.”

On Tuesday, Tomlin was praising both the 49ers’ offense and Aiyuk.

“His evolution, particularly in the latter half of last year, reflects that performance,” Tomlin continued. “We raise a glass to him.” He scored after making a combat 50-50 catch. He also made other important plays. He had a fantastic football game.”

Aiyuk had eight touchdown catches among 78 receptions last year, after having five touchdown catches in each of his first two seasons as a first-round draft pick (No. 25 overall) in 2020.

Rice, by the way, was named Week 1 player-of-the-week in 1994 (seven catches, 169 yards, and two touchdowns in a win over the Raiders, followed by five catches for 78 yards in a Week 2 loss at Kansas City). Boldin earned it in 2013 (13 catches, 208 yards, and one touchdown in a win over the Packers, followed by one catch for 7 yards in a loss to Seattle in Week 2).

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply