Deebo Samuel has done it all for the 49ers' offense this season, but the Niners will have to find a different formula Sunday when they face the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.
Samuel suffered a groin injury during the 49ers' Week 12 win over the Minnesota Vikings and will not be available Sunday in Seattle. Samuel's absence is significant for a 49ers team that has lept back into playoff contention, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo knows it's one the offense can survive if others elevate their game.
“Guys stepping up. I think Trent [Sherfield] did a great job of stepping into the game when Deebo went down, you know, made a big third-down conversion for us," Garoppolo said Wednesday when asked what the key was with Samuel out. "Other guys stepping up and just moving some guys around, I think it will be a little easier this week with the week to plan for it, but just you know, guys have to step up, whether it's at running back, receiver, making YAC with the ball in your hands, it's all those little things will add up this game.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan knows the 49ers have the necessary pieces to weather the storm while Samuel is out.
"He's been a big part of our offense, but I think we're in a spot right now that we can overcome that," Shanahan said Monday when asked about adjusting the offense without Samuel. "[George] Kittle came in yesterday and made a huge play. [Brandon] Aiyuk's been stepping it up each week, doing better. You guys see Jauan [Jennings] coming along. I’d love to give Travis Benjamin more opportunities anyways, having his speed out there.
"Kittle’s getting healthier and better each week. And our run game has been doing well too.”
The good news for the 49ers is that Samuel only expects to miss one game and says he will return in Week 14 when the 49ers visit the Bengals in Cincinnati.
Samuel has had a historic season so far for the 49ers, becoming just the third player in NFL history to have at least 1,000 receiving yards, five receiving touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns.
The 49ers have relied heavily on Samuel through the first 11 games and it will take a total group effort from Aiyuk, Kittle, Sherfield and the rest of the skill players to make up for the star receiver being on the sidelines Sunday in Seattle.