Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk's dominance impresses 49ers teammates in win vs. Steelers

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Brandon Aiyuk did it all in the 49ers' 30-7 Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.

Aiyuk caught eight passes for 129 receiving yards and two touchdowns, including San Francisco's first score of the season.

Bot of Aiyuk's touchdowns came with veteran corner Patrick Peterson in coverage, who made waves this week for his comments on the 49ers' offense.

In speaking to reporters after the game, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan praised Aiyuk for his monster performance and expressed how much confidence he has in the fourth-year receiver.

"A lot, as much as I do all of our guys," Shanahan said. "We've got some pretty good eligibles. You don't go in thinking it's all going to be Aiyuk like it was today, you go in pretty balanced. Just me looking at the stats right before I came in, any time you throw at someone eight times and all eight are completions, that means you're doing some real good stuff."

Aiyuk broke out in 2022, leading the 49ers in receptions (78), targets (114), receiving yards (1,015) and receiving yards per game (59.7).

Off to a phenomenal start through one week of the 2023 season, Aiyuk was asked if he feels he is one of the more underrated receivers in the league.

"I don't really care too much about respect no more, I just come out here and do my job," Aiyuk said postgame.

In addition to his dominance through the air, Aiyuk was instrumental in running back Christian McCaffrey's 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, throwing a huge block on a Steelers defender that allowed McCaffrey to push upfield before receiver Ray-Ray McCloud came through with another key block near the end zone.

McCaffrey certainly appreciated the physicality from his receivers on the touchdown run.

"Man, I think it was Aiyuk and Ray-Ray downfield," McCaffrey recalled. "When you've got receivers who block like that, it's a special feeling for a running back, because you truly feel like those guys have your back and that's an awesome feeling to have when you're out there."

Aiyuk turned heads around the NFL last season and appears to be in store for an even bigger 2023 campaign.

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