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Deebo explains 49ers' strategic ploy that set up trick-play TD

/ by Jennifer Lee Chan
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INGLEWOOD -- Deebo Samuel has added a new skill set to his résumé -- playing quarterback.

Toward the end of the third quarter in the 49ers' 27-24 overtime win over the Rams on Sunday, the multi-talented receiver took a handoff from Jimmy Garoppolo as he ran to the right. The Rams' defense bit on the run, and then Samuel launched the ball 24 yards to Jauan Jennings for a touchdown pass.

The touchdown tied the score after the 49ers had trailed 17-0 in the first half at SoFi Stadium. After the game, the wideout was proud of his handiwork.

“That was a seed, that was a dot,” Samuel said with a smile. “I really couldn’t see him at first, then I saw a little bit of white jersey and I just saw that he was back there alone, so I just threw it, even though I got smoked."

The TD pass was just a small part of Samuel’s stats in the 49ers' comeback win. The Pro Bowl receiver caught four of his six targets for 95 yards, and carried the ball eight times for 45 yards and one score.

When Jennings was asked to rate Samuel’s throw, a huge smile crept across his face.

“Today, 10 out of 10,” Jennings said. “I’m just happy I caught it."

Samuel’s TD pass was the perfect end to a 11-play drive that started with 10 consecutive runs. The Rams' defense, including cornerback Jalen Ramsey, was ready for Samuel to carry the ball since he's been used as a running back for much of the season.

 

The pass stunned the Rams' defense, which couldn’t recover. It was a long ploy by 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan to set up the trick play.

"It's going to be hard to set it up more than that," Shanahan said. "That is the hard thing to do. You run it 10 times in a row, that is when it is set up, but there is a risk, too. Why mess up a good thing? You're running it pretty good right now. You always got to make that decision when you lead too long, and you end up with three points."

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Patience paid off for Shanahan and the 49ers' offense, though, and they were right back in the game entering the fourth quarter.

“It kind of started early in the game,” Samuel said. “Kyle put an emphasis on getting around the edge, and you can see early on Jalen was the first one there when I would get around the edge. So we set it up and knew he was going to bite.

“When we got down in the red zone, Kyle said, ‘OK, you’re going to make the throw,’ and when I did, I made it happen."

The score was part of 17 unanswered points that gave the 49ers enough momentum to carry them into overtime and, ultimately, the wild-card round of the NFC playoffs.

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