After a slow start to the season where he seemingly was in the dog house, Brandon Aiyuk and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan "had words," as the second-year wide receiver put it.
While that sounds like Aiyuk and Shanahan had some sort of bye week argument, that's not how it went down at all.
"Brandon's got a funny way of communicating, and I understand it very well," Shanahan told KNBR's "Murph and Mac." "A lot of people have asked me that because he said we 'had words.' When you say we 'had words,' it comes off as [confrontational]. But it wasn't like that at all.
"We had good words, a good dialogue, a good discussion. Not just one. Probably about 100 of them. So, it's something that we've got a good relationship. He knows I push him hard, but I think he knows what my intent is. My intent is to get him to be the best receiver he can be, so he can help the Niners. And his goal is to be the best receiver he can be, one, so he can help the Niners, but so he can support his family and have a hell of a career. So we both have the same goal, and we both need each other to reach those goals."
The talk was a catalyst for Aiyuk's resurgence and paid dividends for the 49ers.
During the first five games, Aiyuk caught just eight passes for 90 yards and one touchdown. But over the last five games, Aiyuk has caught 23 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns, helping Shanahan and the 49ers leap back into title contention.
Aiyuk's transformation has been apparent to everyone on the 49ers.
“I think whenever a guy’s doing, you know, whatever you want to call it, chippy stuff, blocking hard, whenever he's doing little things like that it means something to him," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said Wednesday when asked if Aiyuk has shown more of a sense of urgency of late. "And you could see that on the tape, you could see that on the field, you feel his energy. So all those things, yeah, I think whatever it was with B that made him flip the switch, it's been working for him.”
"You can just see a different type of B.A., you know?," Deebo Samuel said after the 49ers' win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. "Not afraid of nothing. Got his confidence back and just go out there and ball on Sundays, and it happens day-in and day-out all week long."
With Samuel out Sunday with a groin injury, the 49ers will need Aiyuk to be at his best to beat the Seattle Seahawks and extend their winning streak to four.