Illustration: Getty Photos

There are non-quarterbacks who’ve had large impacts on their groups within the NFL this season.

  • Cooper Kupp caught 145 passes for 1,947 yards and 16 touchdowns for the Los Angeles Rams.
  • For the Indianapolis Colts, Jonathan Taylor touched the ball 372 occasions, totaling 2,171 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns.
  • Najee Harris is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ main rusher with 307 carries for 1,200, however the rookie can also be their second-best cross catcher. He totaled 74 receptions on the season, trailing solely the Steelers prime broad receiver, Diontae Johnson, and his 110 receptions.

Deebo Samuel shouldn’t be requested to hold the offensive load for the San Francisco 49ers the identical method that’s required of the aforementioned offensive workhorses. His 136 complete touches are lower than Kupp’s reception complete. Nonetheless, it’s what Samuel does with these touches that’s had the 49ers on a tear within the second half of the season and made them a respectable menace within the NFC playoffs.

Consider Samuel as Ty Montgomery with rockets in his cleats. At Stanford, Montgomery was a superb broad receiver, however he was so athletic that he was additionally used within the backfield. He carried the ball 23 occasions as a senior. The Inexperienced Bay Packers drafted him, and in his second season they misplaced so many operating backs to damage that they used Montgomery at that place not as a wrinkle to their offense, however as a necessity as a result of they didn’t have anybody else.

That season Montgomery carried the ball 77 occasions for 457 yards and three touchdowns, and in addition caught 44 passes for 348 yards throughout the common season. He was a key contributor within the playoffs, as properly, because the Packers superior to the NFC Championship Recreation. Montgomery presently performs for the New Orleans Saints and has not had a season almost that productive since.

Or may he be a brand new Slash, harking back to when Kordell Stewart combined in some QB/WR and no matter else the Steelers wanted at any given time? Deebo is like a new-age Slash as he’s legitimately taking part in two positions.

Samuel carried the ball 59 occasions for the 49ers this season and is their chief in dashing touchdowns (8). He averaged 6.2 yards per carry and if it looks like he will get a primary down each time the 49ers hand him the ball, that’s due to these 59 carries, 21 of them led to a primary down.

It may be so jarring to see Samuel be that profitable within the backfield that it may be forgotten that he may really be the most effective broad receiver within the NFL. He caught 77 passes, which is lower than half of Kupp’s complete, and he nonetheless totaled 1,405 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns. Samuel averaged a whopping 18.2 yards per reception and led all broad receivers in common yards after the catch (10.4), and the whole league in yards after contact (387.)

This previous Sunday, Samuel saved the season for the 49ers. They needed to beat the Los Angeles Rams to advance to the playoffs and had been down 17-3 at halftime. Samuel ran in a 16-yard landing on the Niners opening drive within the third quarter, after which on their subsequent drive he threw a 24-yard landing cross, as a result of why not throw your first NFL landing cross in crucial sport of the season.

Within the fourth quarter, after the 2 minute warning, the 49ers had a 0.4 % win likelihood, the lowest-ever recorded by a profitable crew since Subsequent Gen Stats started holding monitor of that in 2016. When the 49ers had the ball on their very own 26-yard-line with 50 seconds and no timeouts remaining, it was Samuel’s 43-yard catch that bought them inside L.A.’s 20-yard-line. The Niners tied the sport two performs later with a landing.

That’s the type of playmaking that may trigger sleepless nights for the Cowboys defensive coaches. They’ve the second-best protection within the NFL, per Soccer Outsiders, however the Rams have the fifth, and Samuel shredded them in crucial moments of the sport.

Samuel doesn’t have the entire statistical manufacturing of Kupp, and positively not of Taylor within the operating sport, however that’s what makes his 2021 season so particular. Samuel and the 49ers used his athleticism and deal with breaking capacity 136 occasions this season to try to break video games. An awesome passer could make a protection nervous and uneasy on the sector, however a game-breaker like Samuel who can rating from anyplace at any time. He can terrify a protection.

There isn’t a one like him within the NFL, and for any crew that faces the 49ers within the playoffs has to discover a option to restrict his impression, or else this game-breaker may break their season.


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