49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who sustained an apparent shoulder injury and came off in the divisional round matchup against the Green Bay Packers, could still play in the NFC conference championship, according to Adam Schefter, an NFL insider.
According to Schefter, Samuel told members of the 49ers organization that he was “OK”. When asked if Samuel would be able to make it back onto the field for the conference championship, Schefter’s inside sources said “Yes I do.”
Meanwhile head coach Kyle Shanahan compared Deebo Samuel’s Saturday night injury to the one he suffered in the 49ers 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns in mid-October.
Samuel was only able to accrue 24 yards receiving on two receptions before leaving the game against the Packers. The 49ers still beat the Packers 24-21.
Samuel’s absence affected quarterback Brock Purdy greatly. Samuel would have been the perfect receiver to have in an inclimate weather game. Samuel is known for catching screens and other various short yardage passes and generating offense after the catch.
Samuel also helps open up the 49ers’ running game. His absence meant that the Packers defense could key in on running back Christian McCaffrey in the running game without worrying about Samuel stretching field like he typically does.
Purdy’s completion percentage finished below 60% for just the second time this season. Purdy also fell just short of his 267.5 passing yards per game average without Samuel.
When the 49ers lost to the Cleveland Browns without Samuel or McCaffrey, Purdy said in an ESPN article how the team has to adjust for their absences. Purdy might have to take his own advice in the NFC championship game.
“They’re really good playmakers so it hurts,” Purdy said.
“But at the same time, we have got guys to be able to come in and make plays too. That’s on me being able to help out the guys like Ray-Ray and JJ who are going to play more, Elijah coming in.
“I’ve got to do a better job with communicating with them in the huddle, giving them some sort of expectation of what’s to come in terms of the play and stuff.”
The 49ers will have to play the Detroit Lions or the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC championship game. Neither the Lions or the Buccaneers have elite passing defenses.
The Lions rank 27th in passing yards allowed per game while the Buccaneers rank 29th. Both Detroit and Tampa Bay have top-five rushing defenses, so Purdy will likely be forced to put the ball in the air regardless of who the 49ers face.
The NFC championship game will be in San Francisco at 6:30 p.m. ET on Sunday Jan 28.