Deebo Samuel had a career day Sunday in the 49ers' 41-33 Week 1 win against the Detroit Lions.
The second-year pro finished with a game-high nine receptions for a career-high 189 yards. His day was capped by a big 79-yard touchdown on an underthrown pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
But for how great he played for the 49ers, he also almost cost San Francisco the win as the Niners saw the game slip out of their hands. Samuel took a pass from Garoppolo for 11 yards, looking to put the game away but fumbled and gave the Lions the ball back with 58 seconds remaining.
"I was just out there hoping and praying that the defense would seal the deal, because I knew I just made a big mistake," Samuel said to reporters.
The 25-year-old receiver credited Garoppolo, the 49ers' offensive line and rookie running back Elijah Mitchell for the offense exploding for 41 points in their season opener. Mitchell, a sixth-round pick, led all rushers with a game-high 19 carries for 104 yards and a 38-yard TD run.
Samuel was more than happy the 49ers' defense did indeed seal the deal, but made it clear the feeling in the locker room was the Niners know they must be better going forward.
"Kyle [Shanahan] actually asked the team how do we feel about the win and nobody said anything," Samuel said. "At the end of the game, we just gotta finish like we started. I'm glad we got the win, though."