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Blake Bell Ready for Increased Role in 49ers Offense

Blake Bell entered Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals with just three receptions on the season.

The rookie tight end hadn't caught a pass since the San Francisco 49ers played the New York Giants in Week 5. That changed in the first quarter on Sunday when an ankle injury to Garrett Celek bumped Bell up the depth chart.

On the day, Bell played 19 snaps (34 percent) and caught three passes for 67 yards, all of which were career highs for the former Oklahoma Sooner.

"I was ready for my opportunity," Bell said. "With Celek going down, I knew I had to go in there and make some plays. Making a couple catches was awesome, and I can continue to build on that."

Bell's marquee play of the afternoon was a 48-yard catch and run deep into enemy territory. The tight end found himself all alone on the left side of the field after he ran a crossing route over the middle.

Once Blaine Gabbert spotted Bell and delivered an accurate ball, the tight end took advantage of the open space.

"It was a great play by Blaine," Bell said. "Obviously he got pressured and kind of drifted away. I was running across the middle, and he just found me. It looked like it was a throw back but it wasn't. He just did a great job of finding me. All I had to do was catch it and make the run."

On another reception, Bell caught a pass five yards short of the first-down marker on a 3rd-and-14 play in the third quarter. The tight end then broke a tackle right when he caught the ball and ran through another defender, nearly moving the chains for the 49ers.

"I just felt one of the guys try to tackle me and I slipped off of it," Bell said. "At that point, I was trying to see if I could get a couple extra yards. That's when I lowered the pads to see what I could get."

The former college quarterback said he went to the NFL Scouting Combine at 250 pounds and has gained about 10 pounds of muscle since. Bell credited San Francisco's training staff in helping him add muscle mass to his 6-foot-6 frame.

Bell said he's been taking notes from both Celek and Garrett Celek while trying to continue his development as a tight end. McDonald, who has now scored touchdowns in back-to-back weeks, said he was very impressed with what Bell showed against Arizona. 

"I'm happy for him," McDonald said. "He made a couple really big plays and ran a few people over which was good to see."

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