Owning a 16-7 lead in the third quarter, nickel corner K'Waun Williams intercepted a pass off of Dak Prescott in Dallas territory, handing the ball back to San Francisco's offense with a 9-point lead.
Deebo Samuel was headed to the field from the sideline and let his head coach know he wanted to put the next series on his shoulders.
"Right before he went out there, he just mouthed something to me, which I kind of guessed was, 'Give me the ball,'" Shanahan said postgame.
On the first play following the takeaway, Samuel took a handoff from Dallas' 26 yard line and found a hole in between left guard Laken Tomlinson and left tackle Trent Williams. He then reversed the field and bounced in between two Dallas defenders en route to the end zone for the 26-yard score and to extend San Francisco's lead 23-7.
"That's absolutely right," Samuel said postgame. "When K'Waun got the interception I looked at Kyle and said, 'Hey, just give me the ball. I got you.' I went out there and next play, I scored."
The scoring drive lasted just one play. But what was most impressive was the eagerness and confidence he exuded in the opportune moment.
"When I look at him talking that way, it's extremely motivating, and he makes it a lot easier to call plays," Shanahan said.
What's just as noteworthy as the receiver calling his own number is the fact that the play went much differently than designed. According to the head coach, the play was meant to go outside. Dallas' defense overplayed the run, allowing the receiver to change direction for the score.
"It was unbelievable. It's not at all where we thought the play would go, where it's designed to go. But when you've got a guy out there who's running, he's very tough, he's got the skill set and he sees the field very well. Usually he goes outside. He stopped, reversed the field and if he gets a lane, he's running through everyone's arm tackles. Deebo's been a stud all year as everyone knows."
Samuel, who earned his first-career All-Pro honors just two days prior, finished the outing with 110-total yards (38 receiving, 72 rushing) and a touchdown. His 72 yards on the ground were the most by a wide receiver in a playoff game since the Super Bowl era began in 1966. He also holds the third-highest postseason rushing numbers for a receiver with his 52-yard performance in Super Bowl LIV.