Image Credit: Arizona State University Athletics
You’re sitting at home, and the 49ers are losing 21-17. There is less than a minute left, no timeouts remaining. The offense is on its own 35-yard line. You cannot turn your eyes away, you cannot eat, you cannot drink. Panic starts to set in, and the sweat is pouring down. Are they going to win, or are they going to lose? It’s first-and-10. Jimmy Garoppolo drops back, nearly avoids the sack, but he must throw the ball away.
It’s now second-and-10 you are really starting to get nervous now, only 35 seconds remain, a field goal will not be enough; they have to get in the end zone. Garoppolo drops back, he’s looking, he’s looking, finds Deebo Samuel for a seven-yard gain, but he can’t get out of bounds, the clock is clicking, and the 49ers must spike the ball.
Fourth-and-3 with 15 seconds left, and they are still on their side of the 50-yard line. This seems to be it: the last play. It all comes down to this, and you are on the edge of your seat. Your heart is pounding, you cannot hear anything else but your own breathing. Your hands are clammy from all the sweat. The center hikes the ball, the ticks on the clock become louder in your head, it’s all you can hear. Garoppolo takes a short drop back, Brandon Aiyuk runs the slant towards the middle of the field, Jimmy releases the ball. Aiyuk has it! Aiyuk has it!
He is running down the middle of the field; the clock is still ticking, so he will need to score. The defenders are chasing him, as you get to your feet. Aiyuk approaches the end zone, and the defender grabs him by the waste to bring him down.
Aiyuk falls to the ground, with no time left.
Aiyuk rolls over onto his back in the end zone. He has scored.
What Brandon Aiyuk brings to the 49ers is his ability to make explosive plays and what he can do in the YAC (Yards After catch) column. Just like George Kittle and just like Samuel, Aiyuk has the ability to turn a short pass into a big gain. It’s good to be the king, and Brandon Aiyuk was known in college as the "Yards After King". John Lynch traded up in the first round to get this guy, and even considered him at pick 14. Kyle Shanahan has big plans for him in the future and I cannot wait.
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