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The San Francisco 49ers offense has been humming, and a pillar of that success has been the long-awaited emergence of former first-round receiver Deebo Samuel. Unfortunately, San Francisco saw their lead receiver go down with a groin injury that could derail the team’s success following a three-game win streak.
During Week 12’s 34-26 win over the Minnesota Vikings, Samuel suffered a groin injury initially expected to sideline the wideout for an extended period. Luckily, the Niners now forecast Deebo to be out for only “1-2 weeks,” according to an update from head coach Kyle Shanahan.
“That’s what I was kind of telling you guys last night, that I hope that it was just a strain,” Shanahan responded Monday. “And strains usually [last] anywhere from one to two weeks. I think it was very good news, considering what it could have been.”
Considered the “Alvin Kamara” of receivers, Samuel has delivered both through the air (eclipsing 1,000 receiving yards through 11 games) and running the ball into the end zone using his tricky speed and athleticism. Samuel has scored for the offense 10 times this season — earning five rushing and five receiving touchdowns.
His replacement, Brandon Aiyuk out of ASU, could also be a strong weapon in Shanahan’s offense: a versatile receiver with a similar skillset to Samuel, albeit not at the same production level.
The Niners hope to lean on Aiyuk in the coming week as San Francisco faces off against an NFC West rival: the Seattle Seahawks.
In most seasons, losing a few key players for a forthcoming bout against the Seahawks means your team probably won’t defeat Wilson, Carroll and Co. However, the 2021-22 season tells a different story. The Seahawks’ defense has pressured opposing quarterbacks very little this season, and franchise QB Russell Wilson has tried to expedite the recovery timeline for a broken finger on his throwing hand, to no avail
While many issues have kept the Seahawks at the bottom of the NFC West, the Niners (6-5) can expect that with ample prep and a commitment to the run game, a Week 13 win is likely, even in Samuel’s absence.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela