There truly is no one like Deebo Samuel, who has proven himself as one of the NFL's most versatile offensive weapons in almost five seasons with the 49ers.
In San Francisco's 28-16 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at Levi's Stadium, the receiver again showed he's more than just a wideout by becoming just the second player in NFL history to record 100 receiving yards, one rushing touchdown and one receiving touchdown in back-to-back games after running back Timmy Brown did so for the Philadelphia Eagles in 1960.
"This year, since coming back from an injury, I can see the level of play just getting better and better, week in and week out," Samuel told reporters after the game. "I just take it one day at a time, [and try] to be the best me I can be for the team."
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The 49ers have won five consecutive games since Samuel returned from a shoulder injury after the team's Week 9 bye. When Samuel sustained a hairline fracture on the first play of San Francisco's 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns and exited the game early, the 49ers lost their next two contests as well with left tackle Trent Williams also out due to injury.
But since their return, it has been all gas, no brakes for the 49ers.
The first half of Samuel's latest accomplishment came in Week 13 against the Philadelphia Eagles, when the All-Pro backed up his trash talk with a three-touchdown performance -- two receiving, one rushing. Samuel finished that game with four receptions for 116 yards and three carries for 22 yards on the ground.
And on Sunday, Samuel hauled in seven of his nine targets for 149 yards and a touchdown -- a 54-yard bomb from quarterback Brock Purdy -- while also scoring on a 1-yard run in the third quarter. That rushing touchdown was the 19th of Samuel's career, putting him across the threshold for most by a wide receiver in NFL history.
San Francisco 49ers
After Samuel's self-described "sluggish" 2022 NFL season, the receiver appears to have come into 2023 eager to prove he's still the same player. Purdy, who has seen Samuel's tremendous output up close in recent weeks, heartily believes that's the case.
“I feel like he's just more intent with the little things," Purdy told reporters after Sunday's game. "And then, obviously his effort when he is not getting the ball, carrying out fakes to open up Christian [McCaffrey] or play-action pass, he's doing it right. Last year was my first year with him, so I didn't really know a whole lot. I thought he balled last year. You get the ball in his hands, and he still killed it.
"But he came back this year in great shape, looking good and then has given everything to this team. So, very proud of him. And obviously when you do get him the ball, he's the same old Deebo, makes plays."
Samuel's value to the team is unmatched, as showcased during the team's three-game losing streak in his absence. And as the 49ers chase their sixth franchise Super Bowl victory, they're certainly glad to have the "same old" Samuel on their side.