49ers' Brandon Aiyuk named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk named NFC Offensive Player of the Week originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

In the first week of the regular season, 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk made good on an offseason promise.

"I'm about to take off," Aiyuk said in June. "That's it.”

Aiyuk played a huge role in the 49ers’ 30-7 opening-game victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

On Wednesday, the NFL named him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week. It is the first time in Aiyuk’s career he has received the honor.

Quarterback 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 only Miami’s Tyreek Hill (215) and Minnesota’s Justin Jefferson (150).

Coach Kyle Shanahan credited Aiyuk’s attention to detail and work ethic for his continued improvement.

“(He’s) more consistent,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came a long way last year in that. As the year went, I think that's why he ended up leading our team in receiving and he's carried that into the offseason.

“Didn't know if he was going to get all those opportunities going to the game. You never know how it's going to play out, but he got eight opportunities and he came down with all eight of them.”

On one of Aiyuk’s more impressive plays of the game, he did not even touch the ball. Aiyuk threw a devastating downfield block on Pittsburgh defensive back Damontae Kazee that helped spring Christian McCaffrey for a 65-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Aiyuk is the first 49ers offensive player to earn player of the week since McCaffrey’s Week 8 performance against the Los Angeles Rams last season. In that game, McCaffrey threw a touchdown pass while also contributing scores rushing and receiving.

Aiyuk has gotten better each season he has 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.

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast