In the first week of the regular season, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk delivered on his offseason promise.
“I’m about to quit,” Aiyuk said in June. “That’s it.”
Aiyuk played a big role in the 49ers’ 30-7 opener win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Wednesday, the NFL named him the NFC Offensive Player of the Year. This is the first time in Aiyuk’s career that he has received this honor.
Midfielder Brock Purdy targeted Aiyuk eight times in Sunday’s game. Aiyuk caught all eight passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Aiyuk ranks third in receiving yards in the NFL behind Miami’s Tyreek Hill (215) and Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson (150).
Coach Kyle Shanahan credited Aiyuk’s attention to detail and work ethic in his continued improvement.
“(It’s) more consistent,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came a long way in that last year. As the year went on, I think that’s why he led our team in receiving and he carried that into the offseason.”
“I didn’t know if he was going to get all those chances in the game. You never know how it’s going to go, but he had eight chances and he took all of them.”
In one of Aiyuk’s most impressive plays of the game, he didn’t even touch the ball. Aiyuk delivered a devastating underneath block to Pittsburgh defensive back Damontae Kazee that helped spark Christian McCaffrey’s 65-yard scoring drive in the third quarter.
Aiyuk is the first 49ers offensive player to win Player of the Week honors since McCaffrey’s Week 8 performance against the Los Angeles Rams last season. In that game, McCaffrey threw a touchdown pass while also contributing rushing and receiving scores.
Aiyuk has improved every season he’s been in the NFL, improving his receiving yards from 748 as a rookie to 826 in 2021 to 1,015 and eight touchdowns last season.
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