The San Francisco 49ers will be less concerned with going through game film Monday as they are with what doctors have to say about newly sustained injuries to even more essential Niners players. The team entered Sunday’s game against the New York Jets with a handful of core players on both sides of the ball listed on the injury report, including star tight end George Kittle and defensive anchor Richard Sherman, among others, but were eager to put Week 1’s performance behind them as they got set to take on a perennially lackluster Jets team.
The Niners wasted no time Sunday, scoring on their first play from scrimmage. Raheem Mostert took a pitch from Jimmy Garoppolo 80 yards untouched to the house, and the 49ers would not look back. Garoppolo was 14 of 16 with two touchdowns on the day, however did not play in the second half after suffering a high ankle sprain on the second drive of the game and deciding he could not continue.
Injuries underscored the day, as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Nick Bosa was forced off the field on a cart with a feared ACL tear. Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas followed him to the locker room two plays later with similar trepidation. Both will receive an MRI Monday to determine the full extent of their injuries.
Mostert finished the day with 92 yards on eight carries and two receptions for 15 yards, but he too left the game early with a potential MCL sprain. The Niners were already without Kittle, Sherman, WR Deebo Samuel, DL Dee Ford, and will now have to contend with more critical losses.
The final score: 31-13.
The 49ers are playing without their starting QB, RB, WR, TE, C, DEs, DT, CB, backup C.— TheSFNiners (@TheSFNiners) September 20, 2020
The focus in the postgame presser was less on the quality of the performance and more the condition of the turf, which was called into question as so many key players fell to injury.
Head Coach Kyle Shanahan believes the turf played a big role, telling reporters in the Zoom press conference, “I don’t know exactly why it happened. As far as the feeling that was on the sidelines, that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff and people getting caught on the turf as I’ve ever been a part of.”
Shanahan said concerns were raised by players throughout. “I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was, and I think that was the first time people played on it,” Shanahan stated. “But yeah, it was something our guys were concerned about right away.”
Niner legend Frank Gore, who was signed to a one-year deal by the Jets in May, rushed 21 times for 63 yards, but the Jets were unable to get anything going all day, even with a depleted Niners defense.
Jets Head Coach Adam Gase was not pleased with his team after the final whistle blew. “I’m pissed right now,” Gase told reporters. “We need to get better fast.”
Arik Armstead registered his first sack of the season and 20th of his career in the first quarter, and Fred Warner stuffed Gore on a 4th and 1 deep in 49er territory that led to a Jordan Reed reception touchdown to close out the half. Reed, who came in at tight end as Kittle’s replacement for Week 2, registered two touchdowns on the day, and was a bright spot in the offense. Reed will have to work hard to remain healthy, as he is no stranger to the IR himself, with 7 documented career concussions.
Jerick McKinnon took three carries for 77 yards and his first rushing touchdown of the season. ‘Jet’ gained an impressive 55 yard pickup on a 3rd and 31 with Niners deep in their own half. He will look for his role to increase in the coming weeks if Mostert is sidelined with a knee sprain and Tevin Coleman, who was removed in the 4th quarter with an apparent knee injury, is unable to go next week.
While crushing injuries have dampened The Faithful’s hopes of a return to the super bowl this year, the 49ers will have to rely on their depth as they play in the same stadium on the same turf for their Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants.
The team, however, is not much looking forward to it. “Unfortunately this is a place we’ve got to go back to next week,” Shanahan said. With all of the new injuries on the MetLife turf, can you really even blame them?