Kyle Shanahan asked Ray-Ray McCloud to do his best Deebo Samuel impression on Saturday -- and he delivered.
As Samuel recovers from a sprained knee and ankle, Shanahan called a Samuel play for McCloud and the 26-year-old made the most of it in the 49ers’ 37-20 win over the Washington Commanders at Levi’s Stadium.
McCloud took advantage of great blocking and went untouched all the way to the house for a 71-yard touchdown in the first quarter. After the game, McCloud revealed what Shanahan told him that ignited the fuel behind the impressive play.
“Kyle said, ‘You gotta do better than Deebo.’ Me and Deebo, that’s like my brother, so it’s always a competitive thing,” McCloud told reporters postgame. “My number was called, and I wanted to make the play. It’s not me making a play, to be honest, it was the line.
“The front, Christian [McCaffrey] making his block and Mike [McGlinchey] pancaking his dude, Willie Snead sealing the edge, and I think anybody in that position of getting that ball would have made the same play.”
As McCloud mentioned, it’s all love between Samuel and him. But Shanahan humorously wanted in on the competition and had too much fun playing the role of the instigator.
“It was fun to install because I could mess with Deebo last night,” Shanahan told reporters. “It was in the opener when I installed it so I said, knowing Deebo was in the back, ‘This run’s looked bad all year, but now we got the right guy on it so I have a feeling this is going to score.’ I was definitely being sarcastic but it was really fun to look for Deebo when it did hit like that.”
RELATED: Bosa believes Aldon’s 49ers single-season sack record reachable
The touchdown was McCloud’s first career rushing score and his longest play from scrimmage in his five NFL seasons.
Since Samuel’s injury, McCloud has been trying to get Shanahan to use him more in the run game.
And after San Francisco extended their win streak to eight games, the 49ers coach might consider it -- as long as he can continue to poke fun at Samuel.