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49ers WR Aiyuk returns to practice, eager to play after shoulder injury

49ers WR Aiyuk returns to practice, eager to play after shoulder injury

SANTA CLARA – Brandon Aiyuk watched the 49ers win their third 30-point effort in as many games from a different perspective last week.

Specifically, he had to watch from the sideline. A shoulder issue kept him out of the 30-12 win over the New York Giants in the 49ers’ home opener at Levi’s Stadium.

“It was different from the sideline, because you could feel the energy from the team and the stadium get picked up when a play like that is made,” Aiyuk said Monday of Deebo Samuel’s tackle-breaking reception. “It got me super excited. I can’t wait to go out there and just make a play.”

Aiyuk practiced Monday and looks on track to return from a one-game hiatus to play Sunday, when the 49ers (3-0) host the Arizona Cardinals (1-2).

“We’ll see how the rest of the week goes,” Aiyuk said.

Aiyuk was hurt on his first catch in the Sept. 17 win at the Los Angeles Rams, then rotated that game with rookie Ronnie Bell. The 49ers listed Aiyuk as questionable entering their game against the Giants.

“As the week progressed, we talked more about it, but the decision was already made,” Aiyuk said of missing his first game since his 2020 rookie season. “I was happy with the collaborative effort and we were all on the same page.”

Aiyuk scored two touchdowns in the 30-7 opening win at Pittsburgh; his only other career game with two touchdown receptions was last November’s win at Arizona.

PRACTICE NOTES

Fellow wide receiver Deebo Samuel (ribs) was not seen at practice, but he was upbeat and moved fine in the locker room afterward.

Linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles did not practice because of ankle injuries. Cornerback Ambry Thomas (knee) worked on the side with Greenlaw, as well as Jennings and safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. Cornerback Charvarius Ward, who battled a heel issue in Week 1, worked out in the weight room as practice began.

THIRTY-POINT TRIFECTA

If the 49ers were feeling cocky about scoring 30 points in each of their three wins to start this season, the Miami Dolphins may have humbled that notion. The Dolphins, coached by former 49ers assistant Mike McDaniel, scored the second-most points ever in an NFL game Sunday with a 70-20 pasting of the winless Denver Broncos.

As Jauan Jennings watched the television broadcast, he said two things came to mind: “One, I’m glad that’s not us defensively, and, two, it all looked like (the Dolphins) were having so much fun, the most fun I’ve ever seen. It was engaging.”

How does the McDaniel offense, run by quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, match up to the 49ers’ concepts?

“They were catching a lot of balls in open space, and I think that has a lot to do with Mike — he’s a guru. And it has a lot to do with Tua,” Jennings said.

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Miami ranks No. 1 with a scoring average of 43.3 points per game, followed by the Buffalo Bills (30.3) and the 49ers (30.0). The Philadelphia Eagles averaged 29.5 points entering Monday night’s game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 49ers haven’t finished a season averaging 30 or more points since their last Super Bowl-winning team put up 31.6 per game in 1994.

It’s only the third time in franchise history the 49ers have scored at least 30 points in each of their three opening games (1984, 1992). The 49ers are riding a franchise record with 30 or more points in six straight regular-season games, dating to last December.

EXTENSIONS APPLAUDED

Neither Shanahan nor general manager John Lynch has commented since the 49ers announced contract extensions for both on Friday. Jennings, a 2020 seventh-round pick, said he was “glad and happy” for those moves, noting that the Shanahan-Lynch dynamic “got a steal” drafting late-round picks such as himself, as well as starting quarterback Brock Purdy, the last pick of last year’s draft.