- Tyler Moody
By: Tyler Moody
San Fransisco, California –
Pure joy and a competitive spirit. It could literally be seen and felt oozing from Trent Taylor as he fired the football in celebration of his first NFL touchdown.
From starring on Broadacres Road to scoring on the NFL’s primetime stage, Trent Taylor has elevated his game beyond what some may have ever deemed achievable.
On Thursday night, in primetime against the Los Angeles Rams, the 5’9″ Evangel and Louisiana Tech product announced his arrival to the league with his first touchdown catch. Not before the league rudely welcomed the young budding star, though.
With the 49ers trailing 34-20 at the beginning of the fourth quarter, the San Fran slot man became a huge factor in the Niners’ comeback bid.
Taylor secured his first catch of the game on a quick out to the right side from quarterback Brian Hoyer. After showing off his athletic skillset and eluding two defenders, Trent was absolutely buried by Rams’ safety Cody Davis only a yard away from his first trip into the end zone.
Davis delivered the rookie the kind of hit you would see in a movie.
“Being hit like that is part of the game! I love it,” Taylor spoke to me about the hit as if he relished it more than the touchdown, “If you’re going to be a playmaker in the NFL, it’s not going to be easy but I am willing to take those hits.”
With a huge chunk of the field lodged in his helmet, number 81 rose from the ground knowing he had done his part to position his team to score. On the very next play, that is exactly what they did. Garrett Celek secured the one yard touchdown catch that Taylor had sacrificed his body to set up.
Trying to keep pace with the surging Los Angeles’ offense, the 49ers stayed aggressive in the passing game and Taylor remained on the field for the game’s crucial snaps. Two possessions later, the kid from Shreveport became the man in San Fran and grew up on football’s biggest stage.
On third and goal from the Rams’ three, Taylor ran a perfectly executed whip route that left him wide open. Catching the ball as he crossed into the end zone, he displayed his fire and passion for the game as he celebrated his first NFL score. Taylor launched the ball against the stands and let out a guttural scream only those lost in competition possess.
“It’s hard to describe the feeling,” Taylor said, “It is what I’ve always worked for and dreamed of since I can remember and to finally be out there is a surreal thing.”
Trent had accomplished two things in one play. He caught his first NFL touchdown, but more importantly, he kept his team in what was turning into an unpredicted shootout on Thursday Night Football. Taylor’s score put the 49ers down 41-33 with 5:08 to play.
On the ensuing kickoff, San Fransisco forced a fumble and recovered the ball to give their offense another chance. The ball was all they needed. Workhorse running back Carlos Hyde punched in his second touchdown of the game setting up a crucial two-point conversion attempt to tie.
Once again, Taylor would be the intended target for Brian Hoyer. Taylor flashed open early in his comeback route but Rams’ corner Troy Hill undercut the throw from the Niners’ qb and tipped the ball into the air, eventually falling into the arms of Michael Brockers.
The 49ers would recover an onside kick only to see their comeback attempt fall short on a turnover on downs.
Though San Fransisco couldn’t come out on top in what was possibly the best Thursday Night Football game in years, they displayed incredible grit and learned a lot about their rookie receiver from Shreveport, Louisiana.
Playing nearly every down in the second half, and proving he belonged with the NFL’s best, Taylor figures to be a true component of the 49ers’ game plan moving forward.
Trent and the Niners’ offense will run into a stout secondary the next time they take the field against division opponent Arizona.