Niner of the Week

After yet another highlight-reel kind of game, receiver Brandon Lloyd is SFI's Niner of the Week for the second time this season for his performance during the 49ers' 27-25 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Sunday standout: The third-year veteran tied his career high with seven receptions, producing the third 100-yard receiving game of his career with 119 yards through the air. Quarterback Ken Dorsey threw Lloyd's way 13 times during the game, and five of his receptions produced a first down. Lloyd ended San Francisco's streak of 15 quarters without a touchdown when he got open down the middle with a nice corner fake and went high in the air to grab Dorsey's 22-yard pass and fall backward into the end zone early in the fourth period. But Lloyd's best catch of the day might have been his 44-yarder early in the second quarter, when he got a step on cornerback Kelly Herndon on a deep route and ran underneath Dorsey's long bomb. As the ball arrived, Lloyd made a lunging dive and caught it with his right hand and pulled it into his chest while almost in a horizontal position with Herndon hugging at his side. That reception led to one of San Francisco's four field goals, as did Lloyd's 18-yard reception on third-and-10 in the first quarter and his 12-yard reception for a first down in the second quarter. Lloyd kept the latter drive alive when, after the 49ers were backed up to their own 35-yard line in a third-and-25 situation, Lloyd got a step on cornerback Marcus Trufant and drew a 40-yard pass interference penalty that took the Niners to the Seattle 25. Another of Lloyd's acrobatic, one-handed catches didn't count after he skied over Trufant to make a one-handed grab in the corner of the end zone midway through the third period. But officials ruled that Lloyd landed with one foot out of bounds, and the 49ers had to settle for Joe Nedney's fourth field goal on the drive.

Season to date: Lloyd, San Francisco's leading returning wideout from last year, leads the 49ers in receptions (30), yards receiving (547), touchdown receptions (4) and average per catch (18.2). His 18.2 average is tied with Dallas' Terry Glenn for the best in the NFL for any receiver with 30 catches or more. Lloyd's 89-yard touchdown catch against Dallas in Week 3 is the second-longest reception in the NFL so far this season and his 142 yards receiving against the Cowboys is his career high. Lloyd currently ranks 15th in the NFC in receiving yards, and no player ahead of him on that list has fewer than 38 receptions. Lloyd's performance against the Seahawks was his second seven-reception game and third 100-yard receiving game of the season.

Need to note: Lloyd now has nine catches of more than 20 yards this season. His 89-yarder against the Cowboys is the longest of Lloyd's career, besting his 52-yard catch against the St. Louis Rams last December. Lloyd led the 49ers with six touchdown receptions last year, a total that was twice as many as any other player on the team. He has four of San Francisco's six touchdown receptions this season and is second on the team in scoring to Nedney with 24 points. In his first full season as a starter last year, Lloyd ranked second among San Francisco wideouts to the departed Cedrick Wilson with 43 receptions for 565 yards.

Lloyd says: "I think about making (acrobatic) catches like that and I visualize it, so when it happens in a game it's really kind of second nature; I don't really think twice about doing those things. It's all about hand placement, going up and knowing where the ball is and putting my hands in the right position. I'm going to catch the ball at all costs and do whatever it takes to bring it in."

Coach Mike Nolan says: "Brandon has always practiced well and he practices hard. He puts in his time, and he worked hard during the week like he always has. I think what you saw in the game is what you see in practice all the time. He makes a lot of acrobatic catches and has a tremendous athletic ability. He can make some big-time catches, and you saw some of that in the game. It's difficult to stick your hand up like that and just snatch it out of the air. He's done that a time or two this year, and when he has to. It's not like he can actually put two (hands) up on some of them. Sometimes he's had to get it with one. He had that hitch route he got some weeks ago, he's caught some deep balls that way and he's done those things in practice. It's almost like he's got a spider-web kind of a hand that catches that ball because he can one-hand grab them."

Looking ahead: With Lloyd regularly displaying that he needs only one hand to go up and get passes that are anywhere near him, opponents will have to continue to give him double-team consideration, which will open more opportunities for others in San Francisco's developing passing game and also will prevent opposing defenses from loading the box against the run. Lloyd will continue to be the focus of the passing game as the 49ers attempt to get that element of their offense untracked with their young quarterbacks.

ALSO CONSIDERED: QB Ken Dorsey (18 of 29 passing, career-high 249 yards, 101.1 quarterback rating); RB Maurice Hicks (83 yards on 11 carries, one TD, 50-yard run).

PREVIOUS NOTW LIST: Week 1: DE Bryant Young. Week 2: P Andy Lee. Week 3: WR Brandon Lloyd. Week 4: DE Bryant Young. Week 5: LB Jeff Ulbrich. Week 6: No selection (49ers bye week). Week 7: RB Frank Gore. Week 8: K Joe Nedney. Week 9: LB Julian Peterson. Week 10: K Joe Nedney.


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