It wasn't precisely how the 49ers' drew it up, but Jimmy Garoppolo's pass to Deebo Samuel on fourth-and-6 from the Rams' 40-yard line in the third quarter on Monday night turned out to be the final nail in Los Angeles' coffin in the 49ers' 31-10 domination at Levi's Stadium.
Garoppolo dropped back, looked right and hit Samuel on a slant over the middle. The third-year wide reciever did the rest, galloping 40 yards to the end zone to set off a party in Santa Clara.
According to Next Gen Stats, Garoppolo's pass to Samuel had a 0.6 percent chance of being a touchdown.
To quote the poet Han Solo, never tell Garoppolo, Samuel and the 4-5 49ers the odds.
“Yeah, it was not really the way the play was designed," Garoppolo said after the win. "I would say just kind of happened. The middle of the field kind of opened up. I saw one of their safeties come down and tried to move him to the right a little bit, and Deebo did the rest. Got him the ball. That guy, especially when we played the Rams, maybe that's the mindset part, but when we play the Rams, Deebo always comes out ready to roll.”
Samuel has been the 49ers' unquestioned MVP so far this season, and the third-year receiver did it all Monday night in a must-win against the Rams. Samuel caught all five of his targets for 97 yards and one touchdown while also running the ball five times for 36 yards and a score.
In short, the 49ers' plan in a game they could not afford to lose was simple: Get Deebo the ball.
“Honestly, I haven't. I haven't seen many of them in the NFL either," Garoppolo said after the game when asked if he had seen many players as versatile as Samuel. "I mean, it's a unique talent, just durability of the guy, the route running ability, the mental capacity, just to keep everything in his head that he has to do on a week-to-week basis. It's really impressive. I mean, the dude can play multiple positions and he's earned everything he’s gotten.”
The 49ers have once again gotten off the mat and now head to Jacksonville to face a 2-7 Jaguars team. A win next Sunday would get the 49ers back to .500 and set the course for a second-half playoff push.
Expect another heavy dose of Samuel next Sunday in Duval to make sure the 49ers head back to the Bay at 5-5.