The San Francisco 49ers are getting receiver Deebo Samuel back in the lineup for a pivotal game against the AFC South leading Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
Samuel has been out with a hairline fracture in his shoulder since he went down during the 49ers’ 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Oct. 15.
After starting the season 5-0 and averaging a little more than 30 points per game, San Francisco has been on a three-game slide and scored 17 points exactly in each of its three-consecutive losses.
In doing so, the 49ers now find themselves narrowly ahead of the Seattle Seahawks for first place in the NFC West. San Francisco is 2-0 in the division with victories against the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals, while the Seahawks are 1-1, with a loss to the Rams, but a win over the Cardinals.
After the 49ers’ Week 9 bye, Samuel told reporters on Friday that he’s looking forward to being back on the field and helping the team correct ship.
“Anytime you’re not part of the game, it’s kind of hard but I have kind of been there before,” Samuel said. “It’s just another game, not trying to do nothing crazy, just go out there and do what I do.”
Samuel practiced in full everyday this week and doesn’t have any injury designation ahead of the game in Jacksonville. His teammates are certainly excited to have him back healthy and in the mix.
“He’s such a threat whenever he has the ball,” running back Christian McCaffrey told ESPN. “He makes a play that looks like it’s not going to work go. Just having that confidence that he’s out there means a lot to all of us.”
The team is less sure about the status of starting left tackle Trent Williams, who was limited throughout the week. He, too, was hurt during that game with the Browns — suffering a right ankle injury — but was able to finish the game. Due to repeated ankle injuries, Williams recovery has taken longer, head coach Kyle Shanahan explained.
“I think he’s real questionable to be playing,” Shanahan said. “If it’s no tomorrow then we’ll wait until game time. Today was half speed [and he] wasn’t able to do a lot yesterday, and we want to know how he feels all the way going up to it.”
Jaylon Moore has started in Williams’ place, but the difference has been stark. And nowhere more obvious than in the team’s inability to run the ball. After rushing for the third-highest average yards (156.4) during the winning streak, San Francisco has been just below middle of the pack at 19th with 95.3 yards since the Browns game.
Williams is listed as questionable.