49ers' Aiyuk surprised with lack of snaps in Week 1, but moving forward
Brandon Aiyuk was caught off guard after not being targeted once in Week 1, but the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver is already looking forward to bouncing back against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"Definitely (surprised), but that was last week," Aiyuk said, according to NBC Sports. "Not really focused on that anymore. Another task at hand this week."
He added, "I've already started to understand in this league that it's never a steady path to the top ... You're going to have really high moments, low moments. I think it's all about how you refocus, rebalance, and get back on track afterwards."
Aiyuk stood out as a first-round rookie in 2020, leading his team with 60 catches for 748 yards and five touchdowns on 96 targets through only 12 games. The Arizona State product, who also had two rushing scores, played in 66% of San Francisco's offensive snaps.
However, the 23-year-old was on the field for only 26 offensive snaps (47%) during the 49ers' win against the Detroit Lions in Week 1, and he finished the game with zero targets for the first time in his NFL career.
Aiyuk's limited participation gave wideout Trent Sherfield an opportunity to impress. Sherfield, who joined the 49ers on a one-year deal in the offseason, amassed 23 yards and one touchdown on two receptions while playing 27 offensive snaps.
San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan recently explained why Aiyuk wasn't on the field as often as expected.
"It's not a doghouse. It's just a pretty simple thing," Shanahan said, according to David Bonilla of 49ers Webzone. "Trent Sherfield has played at a very high level every single day for the entire training camp. Aiyuk got off to a little bit of a slow start, and Trent was playing very well."
Shanahan added Aiyuk "would have got that spot completely back" if it wasn't for a hamstring injury that limited the receiver at practice days before the season opener.
Deebo Samuel carried the load at wide receiver for the 49ers against the Lions, catching nine passes for 189 yards and a touchdown.