From the opening drive to the final whistle Sunday night in the 49ers' 24-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams, Kyle Shanahan took everyone through a MasterClass of how to use the YAC Bros. Just look at how he utilized receiver Deebo Samuel.
In the box score, Samuel had just one carry for negative-six yards. It felt a lot different while watching the game, though. Samuel finished with six receptions for 66 yards and one touchdown. But according to Next Gen Stats, Samuel had 97 yards after the catch. He was targeted behind the line of scrimmage on all six of his catches and had negative-32 targeted yards through the air.
That's almost twice as many negative air yards any receiver has had in a game since 2016.
Shanahan had Samuel constantly on the move. He was either shifted or in motion on all six of his receptions, and his route chart looks much more like a running back carrying the ball than a receiver catching passes down the field from his QB.
Sunday night also was another impressive display of yards after catch ability from 49ers star tight end George Kittle. As Kittle led the 49ers with seven receptions, 109 yards and one touchdown, 73 of his yards came after the catch. This is a pattern by Kittle, as he now has gained plus-52 yards after catch over expectation this season, which is 19 more than any other tight end, according to Next Gen Stats.
Brandon Aiyuk, the third of the YAC Bros, only had two receptions for 12 yards but he joined the party by catching Jimmy Garoppolo's third and final touchdown pass on the night.
Garoppolo went a perfect 4-for-4 with 69 passing yards and one touchdown on the 49ers' opening drive. But this was a Shanahan creation in the YAC lab. All four passes were thrown behind the line of scrimmage and combined for negative-20 air yards.
Shanahan perfectly took advantage of his weapons in Samuel, Kittle and Aiyuk against the Rams. That certainly helped Garoppolo's stat line, too, which could give him the momentum and confidence needed as the 49ers continue to face a tough schedule.