The 49er of Week 12: Wide Receiver Jauan Jennings

Nov 28, 2022, 11:30 AM

| Updated: 12:18 pm
Jauan Jennings #15 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a touchdown during the first half in the g...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 27: Jauan Jennings #15 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a touchdown during the first half in the game against the New Orleans Saints at Levi's Stadium on November 27, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers are riding high after Week 12, atop of the NFC West at 7-4, thanks to a dominant defensive win over the New Orleans Saints. As a team, the 49ers have now produced six straight quarters without allowing a single point on the scoreboard by their opponent. Utterly ridiculous.

And while the offense showed some sluggishness after a short week’s rest, one player, in particular, came up clutch when it mattered. That player was wide receiver Jauan Jennings.

The odd man out at times, Jennings has been one of head coach Kyle Shanahan’s favorite players since being drafted in the seventh round at the 2020 NFL draft. While his stats have never lit the world on fire, his consistency as a third-down option has been vital for the 49ers to sustain drives this season.

So much so that the down has been rephrased to include the wideout’s name.

NBC Sports Matt Maiocco: Do you like the term third and Jennings?

Jennings: “I like the term third and Jauan. I like that one. But yeah, I do.” 

On Sunday that was his down, finishing the day with six catches for 49 yards and the all-important touchdown that gave San Francisco a 10-0 lead going into halftime. The crazy part: Almost all of his catches came on the touchdown drive, coming up big for his team when they needed it.

“Oh man, it felt awesome,” the wideout said with a big smile postgame Sunday. “That whole entire drive, I was just locked in, focused on making the plays when the opportunity comes my way, I just want to make them.”

A player known for his physical stature at 6’3”, Jennings has improved his ability to separate on routes this season. On one play in particular, the Tennessee standout cooked cornerback Chris Harris when he broke on an intermediate out-route, forcing Harris to stumble out of the break. The veteran coverman didn’t like that very much, pushing Jennings to the ground once he was out of bounds due to frustration.

Known to get under defender’s skins, Jennings loves it, often running through the secondary on run plays. You have to be a complete wide receiver to play for Shanahan, and Jauan has certainly embraced this role for the Red & Gold.

“A lot of teams like to play man-to-man on third downs and that’s where that’s like one of my strengths. I beat man-to-man,” Jennings stated confidently.

Then the crucial catch in the back of the endzone before the half.

Scrambling to find an open man, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo lofts the ball to the wideout streaking to the back-left pylon. Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu is able to get a hand on it, hitting the ball up in the air before falling in the hands of Jennings, managing to keep two feet inbounds.

A huge momentum-swinging play that puts his team up by two scores, and gets him his first touchdown of the season.

“Oh, it was huge. To get down there on the third-and-one in the second quarter, he had the big explosive on the out [route] again I think in the fourth quarter with that, so we could run the clock out. Had that real good catch on the touchdown, Jauan’s clutch for us and he kept us out on the field a couple times and got us those points,” Shanahan praised Sunday.

“I see it every day in practice. I’ve seen it for multiple years now. When you have a guy like that who does it every day in practice, is reliable, wants the ball, you could see the competitiveness. Every play he’s in, Jauan is busting his [expletive],” Garoppolo added.

A great teammate both on and off the field, Jennings has emerged as the “glue guy” for the 2022 San Francisco 49ers.


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