Brandon Aiyuk

49ers receivers stay patient, ready for their number to be called

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SANTA CLARA — Running back Christian McCaffrey’s production this season has been consistent with a touchdown streak that has reached 14 games.

McCaffrey is not alone in a 49ers’ offense that also consists of high-level offensive playmakers Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle.

Each of those players is capable of producing big games, but it’s rare they each enjoy that kind of success in the same game.

And even the players don't know who will compile the nice statistical line during the week leading up to the game.

“You never really know because two weeks ago, the practice week, you would’ve thought it was George,” Aiyuk said. “And it ended up not being George. It ended up being me.”

Yes, in the days leading up to the 49ers’ 35-16 victory over the Arizona Cardinals, the ball was not coming Aiyuk’s way much in practice.

But the way the 49ers’ offense is structured, quarterback Brock Purdy’s progression changes based on whether the defense is playing man coverage or any variation of zone principles.

Aiyuk ended up being targeted six times in the game, and he caught all six passes for 148 yards, including a season-long reception of 42 yards.

Of course, it works the other way, too. Aiyuk thought he might have another big game against the Dallas Cowboys. Aiyuk is the 49ers' best receiver on the 49ers at defeating man coverage, which the Cowboys play at a high rate.

“I was super excited for the game plan,” Aiyuk said. “But it was a little bit different and it ended up being George. So you never really know.

“You wait your turn to make a play and try to make all the plays that come your way. We all know that it can be any given week, and that’s super fun, super exciting because we know if you keep your head down and put your work in, eventually, it’s going to come back around to you.”

None of the 49ers' offensive threats seem to mind a game or two of fewer passes coming his way. Aiyuk said the close-knit nature of the locker room prevents the kind of issues that could arise on other teams.

“I think we’ve all been through so much stuff together — grinding together,” Aiyuk said. “We all share similar struggles. It’s always a good feeling for yourself when you get to have your time to go out there and do what you want to do.

“So you know how it is for your brother when he gets to do it, as well. We feel for each other. We all know that we’re in this together.”

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