Football is a fascinating sport. There was a laundry list of things the 49ers didn’t do well against the Vikings on Monday night. Fans are quick to assess the blame when something doesn’t go according to the “plan.”
I think we can all agree that Brandon Aiyuk’s lack of usage as the game progressed was puzzling.
This'll be tough to swallow for the 49ers looking back at it: The last reception Brandon Aiyuk had came in the second quarter with 4:28 left. He only had 1 target for the rest of the game.— KP (@KP_Show) October 24, 2023
Aiyuk and Brock Purdy have a tremendous rapport. They connected on their first five targets for 57 yards. But the Niners star wide receiver — a player who was among the league leaders in several metrics for his position — only saw one target for the rest of the game, which was 28 plays.
One of the most respected analysts, Brian Baldinger, also disagreed with Aiyuk’s lack of usage. Here’s what Baldy said on his most recent appearance on 95.7 The Game:
“I think he should’ve gotten more to be honest with you, especially on first downs. They were basically selling out to play the run. They’re a big blitz 0 team. You’re going to get some 1-on-1’s out there. I like my chances with Brandon Aiyuk against Murphy, Evans, whoever is on the other side.
They chose not to do that. They went to Jennings. At the very end they went to McCloud. It just seemed a little bit unusual that you wouldn’t feature your best receiver.
Especially with Deebo out, you have to lean on your #1. That’s what Aiyuk is. There’s all kinds of things you can do, especially against a Flores defense that’s blitz happy.”
Here’s what Baldy had to say about Purdy’s performance:
“The throw to Jennings. I don’t know. I looked at that thing for 20 minutes this morning. It looked like it was a timing throw. Purdy is just throwing to a spot, and Jennings doesn’t get there. So it looks worse than it is. I’m not blaming it on the receiver completely. That looks like a bizarre throw to me.
And then the last one, he steps up in the pocket and kinda wings it. It’s just not a good throw. A careless throw. The two he missed in the first half he just sailed the throw. When he did miss, he missed high.
You get two shots there to go win the game. Defense did their job. Got the ball back to them in good field position. And they couldn’t do anything with it.”
Baldy’s biggest concern, despite all of the mistakes, was the 49ers inability to punch the ball in at the end of the game. He said if the 49ers want to be a prized offense, they have to cash those possessions in. He finished with saying that Purdy is coming back down to earth with his recent play.