The San Francisco 49ers have been more than pleased with the results Brandon Aiyuk has provided them in his rookie season. Despite the injury to Jimmy Garoppolo, Aiyuk has thrived in the 49ers offensive scheme -- leading the team in receptions (59), receiving yards (733), and receiving touchdowns (five). The rookie has accomplished all this while missing three games due to COVID-19.
Aiyuk is closing in on Jerry Rice's franchise record for receiving yards in a rookie season, needing 195 yards over his final two games to surpass Rice (who set the mark in 1985 with 927 yards). Aiyuk is averaging 66.6 yards per game, so he won't catch Rice at his current pace. If Aiyuk had been able to play all 14 games, he would have surpassed Rice by now in all likelihood.
Aiyuk still has an opportunity to pass Rice and set the mark, but he has his own goals to achieve. The mindset Aiyuk has toward the game is certainly reminiscent of the greatest wide receiver ever.
"Going into a game, my mindset is that I'm going to have 200 yards -- and then go from there," Aiyuk said to reporters Wednesday. "The mindset is not to worry about that record, but to have the perfect game, which I have yet to do.
"If at the end of the season I look up and the record is broken, that would be pretty exciting. We have two games left and (the games are) the main focus right now."
Aiyuk is second in franchise history for receptions in a rookie season, needing 24 catches to surpass Earl Cooper's record of 83 (1980). He has caught 45 passes for 568 yards and has six total touchdowns (four receiving, two rushing) over his last six games.
Among the rookie receivers, Aiyuk is fourth in receiving yards and catches, while being tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns. Another reminder he missed three games.
To pass Rice, Aiyuk needs to average 97.5 yards a game over the final two games. His 94.7 receiving yards per game over the past six games showcases Aiyuk has a fighters' chance of setting the mark.