PHILADELPHIA – More than five minutes in the game remained, but the Philadelphia Eagles fans started heading for the exits. They had seen enough of Deebo Samuel, as the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver sprinted for his third touchdown of the game.
Moments later, the red-clad Niners fans brave enough to attend the unfriendly confines of Lincoln Financial Field who remained in the lower bowl started chanting.
“DEEBO! DEEBO! DEEBO!”
Earlier this week, Samuel stood pat when asked if he would take back his criticisms of Eagles cornerback James Bradberry, whom he referred to as “trash.” Samuel had more than his say Sunday.
“I ain’t gonna lie,” Samuel said after the Niners trounced the Eagles 42-19. “I was in that zone all week.
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“Talking trash is part of the game. Hopefully nobody took it to heart because it’s all fun and games.”
He finished with 138 total yards and three total scores (two receiving, one rushing). He caught all four of the passes thrown his way for 116 receiving yards, and took three carries for another 22 yards. The trio of touchdowns all allowed the fifth-year receiver to flash his innate and unique playmaking ability.
“Deebo’s one of the best football players I’ve ever seen,” Niners linebacker Fred Warner said.
“It’s safe to say his actions spoke louder than the words.”
Samuel’s first touchdown, a 12-yard rush, came on a nifty play design by head coach Kyle Shanahan that saw Samuel circle around quarterback Brock Purdy, take a pitch and gain a full head of steam toward the pylon, putting San Francisco up 21-6. His second score came later in the third quarter on a 48-yard slant in which he shook off one would-be tackler and won the foot race to the end zone, carrying Eagles cornerback Darius Slay for the final 5 yards. Then, with the game out of hand in the fourth, Samuel scored from 46 yards out on a similar play but with less bruising contact and more breakaway speed.
“He knows that once he gets that full head of steam, he doesn’t have to bring that finesse,” 49ers left tackle Trent Williams said. “They know it’s going to be a collision. He knows it’s going to be a collision.”
In the aftermath of January’s NFC championship game loss to the Eagles, Samuel was arguably the most vocal Niners player saying that they didn’t have a fair shot due to Purdy’s first-quarter elbow injury. The rematch provided the ideal setting to rectify the record.
But it wasn’t smooth sailing from the get-go for Samuel and the Niners’ offense. His first touch of the game went for a loss of 4 yards, and San Francisco had negative-6 yards through the first six plays from scrimmage. As Samuel got going, so did the Niners.
“He’s a special player,” Williams said, “and I think that today’s performance showed that.”
All week, Purdy said, Samuel brought extra juice to the locker room.
“But was it a distraction or anything like that? No. Deebo’s practiced hard all week. Every single week, he’s done that, and he’s been very consistent this year,” Purdy said. “But, going into this game, yeah, he had a little something. A little history with obviously the way things went down last year in the playoff game, and he’s definitely looked forward to this game, coming back into this place.
“He was pumped about it and ready to go. Man, all I had to do was get him the ball and some space, and he made the rest happen. Really happy for him.”
When Jauan Jennings scored early in the fourth quarter to make it 35-13, Samuel was one of the first to celebrate with his fellow wideout – and was sure to start waving the hometown crowd farewell.
“I really wasn’t listening to them,” Samuel said of the Eagles’ fans. “I was just so locked in.”News Related