49ers

Deebo Samuel makes 49ers history with second straight 100-yard game

Deebo Samuel makes 49ers history with second straight 100-yard game

SANTA CLARA — For the second game in a row, 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel ended the night at the top of the stat sheet which put the rookie in rare company.

Samuel racked up eight receptions for 134 yards in the 49ers' 36-26 victory over the Cardinals. That game comes on the heels of an eight-catch, 112-yard performance Monday night against the Seahawks. In doing so, he became the first rookie in franchise history since the AFL-NFL merger to register at least eight grabs and 100 receiving yards in consecutive games. 

The last rookie to accomplish the same feat was Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014. 

Samuel injured his shoulder during the win, but with top targets Emmanuel Sanders and George Kittle already missing from the lineup, the rookie locked in and battled through the pain. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has admired Samuel's mettle since he arrived in Santa Clara. 

“He’s one of the guys you love to have in your foxhole,” Garoppolo said. “Get’s banged up out there, keeps coming back. Doesn’t even question it or anything, he’s a fighter, man, and you just love having guys like that on your team.” 

Getting accustomed to coach Kyle Shanahan’s playbook is not an easy task to accomplish. While the rookie still has a little ways to go in knowing all the ins-and-outs of it, he has done enough to become a very reliable target for the Garoppolo. 

“I was just following the game plan,” Samuel said. “As a receiver you are taught to go out there and make plays and that is what I did. We put more emphasis in the receiver room that we are going to catch like 100 to 200 balls every day in practice. So, we are more locked in, ready, and prepared.”

[RELATED: Where 49ers, Raiders sit in NFL power rankings after Week 11]

Samuel spoke to NBC Bay Area earlier in the week about having the physical mentality that one player won't be able to tackle him. That style of play has earned the respect of veteran cornerback Richard Sherman. 

“He’s fearless,” Sherman said. “He will run through any catch. You can tell receivers running across the middle and they are looking for who is going to hit them. Deebo is looking for who he is going to hit. It’s a much different mentality for most people.

"It’s almost like you expect him to break the tackle when he catches the football and it takes a tremendous amount of trust in your quarterback, a tremendous amount of trust in your abilities to be able to play like that because some of the plays drawn up are him running into traffic. 

“He’s running into a safety who is breaking and it could be a huge hit and he’s not wincing and he’s not crunching up, he’s catching the ball and running through it. That can’t be coached that can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t.”

Watch 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo heave 75-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders

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Watch 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo heave 75-yard TD pass to Emmanuel Sanders

When the 49ers needed a big play Sunday, Jimmy Garoppolo and Emmanuel Sanders connected for a monster touchdown. 

San Francisco cut the New Orleans Saints' lead to 20-14 early in the second quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, thanks to Garoppolo's 75-yard heave to Sanders. Sanders initially burned his man in the secondary, then slowed up to beat Saints safety Marcus Williams and track back to Garoppolo's underthrown pass. 

When Sanders hit the ground after hauling Garoppolo's throw, he had plenty of time to get back on his feet and evade Williams and Vonn Bell.

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season in PFF era]

The TD was the longest of Garoppolo's career, and Sanders matched a career-long he set four years ago with the Denver Broncos. Sanders' reception was his third of the day and his 125 yards on those three catches are Sanders' most with the 49ers. Sunday was Sanders' first game with 100-plus receiving yards since Halloween, and he was limited to just 113 yards over the last four weeks after he battled a ribs injury. 

Sanders was healthy enough to suit up as one of only four receivers Sunday, and he even matched Garoppolo with a passing TD of his own on the 49ers' ensuing drive.

Is there a QB controversy brewing? 

Jared Cook's TD catch appears to hit ground in Saints-49ers; call upheld

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Jared Cook's TD catch appears to hit ground in Saints-49ers; call upheld

One of the age-old questions in the NFL seems so simple but yet is so complex: "What is a catch?"

The catch/non-catch topic reared its head again Sunday in New Orleans, as Saints tight end Jared Cook caught a 26-yard touchdown to put the home team ahead of the 49ers 13-7 midway through the first quarter.

Despite an impressive effort by Cook -- and a personal foul penalty on 49ers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon -- it appears the ball came loose and hit the ground at the end of the catch. While all scoring plays are reviewed, the officials didn't appear to give another look to the play.

Had the play been ruled an incomplete pass, the Saints still would have been awarded first down in the red zone -- due to the penalty -- and in prime position to score. However, the 49ers then could have made the Saints settle for a field goal or even forced a turnover.

[RELATED: 49ers playing with four healthy wideouts vs. Saints]

The 49ers need all the breaks they can get, as they currently trail the Saints 20-14 in the second quarter in what looks to be a shootout between two of the NFC's best teams.