The San Francisco 49ers dropped a hotly contested affair against the Seattle Seahawks at home Monday evening. It was a mistake-filled performance from the previously undefeated 49ers.
More so than the 27-24 loss, most of the concern in Santa Clara surrounded the plethora of injuries San Francisco suffered. Multiple players on both sides of the ball exited, including the recently-acquired Emmanuel Sanders.
There’s good and bad news on this front. Let’s break it down in quick fashion.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday afternoon that Sanders suffered a rib injury and is considered day-to-day. It’s similar to the cartilage injury tight end George Kittle played through last season. Sanders will likely be a game-time decision for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
It goes without saying that the receiver’s injury impacted Jimmy Garoppolo in Monday’s loss. The quarterback looked completely lost when Sanders exited the game with San Francisco up 10-0 in the second quarter. Sanders has caught 13-of-18 passes for 161 yards with two touchdowns in three games with the 49ers.
In his first game back after a seven-week absence, Staley was seemingly a shell of his former self. The six-time Pro Bowler was beaten multiple times by Seahawks edge rushers, playing a paramount role in Garoppolo being sacked five times.
There’s not great news on this front. Staley suffered a fractured finger in the loss and could potentially need surgery. He’s getting a second opinion. If Staley is out long-term rookie late-round pick Justin Skule will once again start at left tackle moving forward.
Yet another 49ers player that just can’t stay healthy, Breida aggravated the same ankle injury he’s been dealing with since early in the season. It’s the third time he’s suffered a setback. While officially considered day-to-day, it would be a huge surprise if Breida were to play Sunday against Arizona. He, too, might be getting a second opinion.
San Francisco will likely want to get him right for the stretch run. This would be no small short-term loss, as Breida is averaging 5.0 yards per rush thus far this season. Though, San Francisco has depth at running back in that of Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. That will play into the decision Shanahan and Co. make moving forward.
This rising defensive tackle exited early in Monday’s game after recording an impressive sack of Russell Wilson. He was almost immediately ruled out with a groin injury, leading to speculation that it could be a long-term injury. There’s some good news on this front. Jones is expected to miss just one week.
A sixth-round pick of the 49ers back in 2017, Jones has stepped up big time this season. He’s recorded two sacks and has been the team’s best interior run defender.
This is a major blow for both the impending free agent and his team. Blair recorded a huge tackle of Russell Wilson late in Monday’s game. He immediately pulled up lame and had to be carted off the field. Initial indications following the game were that it was a serious injury.
That’s now been confirmed by Shanahan and Co. Blair suffered a torn ACL and will be placed on season-ending injured reserve. The fourth-year player from Oregon ends his season having recorded 21 tackles and three sacks in nine games.
Having missed Monday’s game with both an ankle and knee injury, it seems that Kittle is destined for a multi-week absence. Sure he was listed as doubtful for Week 10, but most indications during the weekend were that Kittle would sit out. San Francisco might play it close to the vest with the Pro Bowler this week against Arizona before a brutal three-game stretch.
Shanahan noted that Witherspoon will need to get three days of good practices in before being cleared to return. While the third-year corner has noted he’s 100%, he was a somewhat surprise inactive in Week 10. Witherspoon has been out since Week 3 with a foot injury. Emmanuel Moseley continues to play well in his stead. Expect the defensive back to return on Sunday.
Impact Of Injuries
The 49ers’ injury report is seemingly growing. It has to be considered troubling with games coming up against the Packers, Ravens and Saints following Sunday’s contest with Arizona.
At this point, it has to be about getting right for the stretch run and playoffs. If that means sitting multiple players for a week against a lesser team, so be it.
We saw first-hand just how lost San Francisco’s offense looked with Kittle and Sanders in the mix on Monday night. We would not be shocked if both sat out for Week 11 with a return to action against the Green Bay Packers on “Sunday Night Football” the following week.
Simply put, San Francisco will not be hoisting the Lombardi in February without each of these players health. That’s just the way it is. Monday night’s game magnified this further.