PHILADELPHIA -- Deebo Samuel was smiling ear-to-ear after the 49ers' 17-11 win over the Eagles on Sunday, but there was a moment in the game where he was in serious pain.
With the high rate of injuries on the 49ers' roster through the first two weeks, it was understandable why there was concern when Samuel was seen sitting on the field during the game, his face expressing severe discomfort.
Outside of the locker room on the way to the buses, Samuel told NBC Sports Bay Area that he was simply dealing with cramps in his left quad, but added that it was no laughing matter -- it was painful.
“It cramped up so bad,” Samuel said. “They just wouldn't go away. Man, it was painful.”
Samuel, who now leads the league with 282 receiving yards, has been an important part of the 49ers' two wins on the road. Without him, Jimmy Garoppolo would be without his most reliable target of 2021. The 25-year old is currently is far and away the most targeted player on the 49ers' roster (20). The second is George Kittle who has less than half of Samuel's targets with nine.
The third-year wide receiver recorded six catches for 93 yards on Sunday along with two rushing attempts for eight yards. Samuel’s 157 yards after the catch is tied for first with Arizona Cardinals receiver Rondale Moore. Samuel is averaging 10.5 yards after the catch.
After injuries kept Samuel sidelined more than half of the 2020 season, the South Carolina product reported to training camp in the best shape of his three NFL seasons. Taking care of his body has become a priority and that focus appears to be paying off.
With Samuel currently on a record pace, staying healthy is clearly an important factor in making sure his historic start continues.