Kurtenbach: Brandon Aiyuk, the 49ers’ forgotten star, is done being overlooked


Brandon Aiyuk’s big game against the Buccaneers wasn’t a breakout.

It was a culmination. It was a celebration.

It was a reminder that on a team chock full of superstar players, Aiyuk, the forgotten star, is as good — and as important — as anyone.

In Sunday’s 27-14 win, he was the centerpiece of a 49ers passing attack that worked over Tampa Bay. The Niners receiver had the most prolific performance of any receiver in the NFL on Sunday by catching five passes for a career-high 156 yards and a touchdown.

The touchdown was a 76-yard beauty from Brock Purdy, who said after the game that Aiyuk “deserves it, man.”

“We’ve been wanting to get a deep one for him for a while, so [it] felt good.”

And while Aiyuk is no charity case, it’s understandable that there was extra love for the receiver after the game.

He’s having an absolutely monster year, but it hasn’t translated into touchdowns. Sunday was only his fourth score of the season, and just his second since Week 2.

But while Aiyuk had not scored on a deep touchdown all season before Sunday, he has been the Niners’ big-play threat this season.

On pace to easily surpass last season’s impressive 1,085-yard campaign, Aiyuk is averaging 19.3 yards per catch this season, most among all players with at least 25 receptions — and 2.7 yards more than No. 2 on the list.


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Aiyuk has been so prolific, he’s been good for 13-plus yards every time he’s been targeted this season. That’s two yards more than the NFL’s leading receiver, Tyreek Hill, who is on pace to post the league’s first 2,000-yard receiving season.

Suffice it to say that Aiyuk is having a monster year. It’s not just a Pro Bowl-caliber campaign; it could be an All-Pro-worthy season.

It snuck up on you, right?

Now you know how opposing defenses feel.

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But Sunday was the perfect encapsulation of Aiyuk’s campaign: Of his five catches, …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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