49ers’ Jake Brendel experiences O-lineman’s dream block on Deebo Samuel’s touchdown

Brendel recalls experiencing the O-lineman vs. dream block. Cards originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SANTA CLARA — Center Jake Brendel has been kicking around for the NFL since 2016.

The highlight of his pro football career — up to this point, anyway — came in the 49ers’ 38-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City on Monday night.

Brendel showed off his athleticism with a downfield pancake block by Cardinals safety Budda Baker to allow Deebo Samuel into the end zone with a 39-yard run in the third quarter.

Afterwards, he returned to the locker room for a long string of messages from family and friends.

“It’s been a great experience,” Brendel told NBC Sports Bay Area. “The whole game, the whole journey was amazing.

“Many friends have contacted me. Obviously, my family was very proud of my performance, so that was great.”

The road to a starting NFL job on a competing team was long and winding for Brendel, who turned 30 on the eve of the 2022 regular season opener.

He entered the NFL in 2016 with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted rookie from UCLA. In the previous six seasons, Brendel appeared in 37 games, mostly on special teams, with the Miami Dolphins and 49ers. He also had opportunities with the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens, but failed to catch on.

When NFL All-Decade center Alex Mack retired in the offseason after just one year with the 49ers, the organization decided Brendel was qualified to take over.

On Monday, he displayed the athleticism and intelligence that made 49ers offensive line coach Chris Foerster confident Brendel has what it takes.

On Samuel’s touchdown run, the 49ers made the Cardinals think it was a run to the right side. Samuel switched right to left and caught a pass from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Brendel was briefly tangled with Cardinals defensive tackle Trysten Hill at the line of scrimmage before sneaking off the field behind left tackle Trent Williams.

“Timing is always pretty critical,” Brendel said. “You have to make sure that the first level guys get blocked. Trent did a great job with the second level guys, and I scrambled and Deebo used my block to his advantage.

“[Samuel] he set me up perfectly and made Buddha choose which side to attack, and he hit the other side.

Brendel ran 24 yards down the field, where he first contacted Baker in an open field. He pushed Baker back 8 yards before planting him on his side as Samuel made his way into the end zone.

“Brendel had a really good one,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said of the onfield block. “He He felt at the end. He had some swag late as a center, so it was a great game.

There were many different ways the game could have played out based on the Cardinals defense. But the scenario that unfolded was exactly how Brendel said he prepared for it to unfold.

“If it hadn’t been a single high [safety] as it was, then it could have played out a little differently,” Brendel said. “But with Budda being that third deep player, it worked with me being onto him.

“You always have to think of it as the worst-case scenario. Maybe not worsebut the most challenging.

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The 49ers offensive line continued its strong play Monday night. The 49ers averaged 5.7 yards per rushing attempt and have not allowed a sack for the third time in 10 games this season. The team’s unproven interior offensive linemen rose to the occasion.

“Obviously, we’re a little more than half done, so we still have a lot of work to do,” said Brendel. “We just have to keep improving every week.

“We have high expectations for ourselves as a group and we just need to make sure we achieve them.”

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