The 49ers ran the ball 42 times and threw it eight times during Sunday’s 37-20 win over the Packers. The men charged with catching passes are OK with that.
“I mean, I think our mentality is, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” receiver Deebo Samuel said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports Bay Area. “I ain’t got no problem going out there and being scrappy with the defense and blocking for the running back. They do it for us when we have a pass thrown down.”
Samuel was involved in the running game, carrying twice for 43 yards. Veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders had no carries and one target — and zero complaints.
“Yes, I only had one target, and I’m not upset with that,” Sanders said, via Chan. “I told myself, if I’m not going to get the ball, I might as well go out here and be a bully. I kind of turned into a bully, I started to enjoy blocking. Sometimes I actually like that aspect of it.
“When they brought me over here, they knew what is in my heart. They know I am going to be an incredible teammate and I am going to do whatever I have to do to help this team win. If it is going in and blocking, and if it is playing special teams, whatever I got to do, I am here to help.”
Tight end George Kittle, a key cog in the San Francisco rushing attack, embraced the opportunities to block. Told that the team ran the ball 42 times, he said, “That’s awesome. I could have gone for 50.”
In the Super Bowl, it remains to be seen how often the 49ers will run. But coach Kyle Shanahan is smart enough to not outsmart himself. If the opposing defense can’t stop the run, he’s going to keep running. And he’s not going to stop, even if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and his $27.5 million contract has single-digit attempts.