49ers snap count: Why Jeff Wilson took over as main running back

Matt Maiocco
·3 min read

Why Wilson took over as 49ers' No. 1 running back vs. Pats originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Jeff Wilson was unavailable a week earlier due to a calf injury, but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said his mind was made up early last week that Wilson would have a big role against the New England Patriots.

The 49ers’ top two running backs, Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, are on injured reserve. And Shanahan felt as if the team overworked Jerick McKinnon in recent games.

“We decided once Raheem was out, we were hoping we could rest 'Jet' (McKinnon) some,” Shanahan said Sunday, following the 49ers’ 33-6 victory over the New England Patriots.

“Once we had the injuries, we knew on Monday if Jeff was healthy, he was going to be starting that week. We weren't really sure of that until he got a lot more in practice on Thursday.”

Wilson responded with his best game in the pros gaining 112 yards on 17 carries. However, his day ended midway through the third quarter when he sustained an apparent high ankle sprain while scoring his career-best third touchdown of the game.

Wilson played 37 snaps, while undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty and McKinnon played just 15 and 12 snaps, respectively. Now, those two are the 49ers’ only healthy tailbacks entering their Week 8 game against the Seattle Seahawks.

”We were able to rest 'Jet,' only play him on third down, which is I think what helped him a lot going forward,” Shanahan said.

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The 49ers are likely to face a dilemma this week at wide receiver, where two of their top four players appear unlikely to play against Seattle. Deebo Samuel (hamstring) and Richie James (ankle) sustained injuries on Sunday.

Brandon Aiyuk and Kendrick Bourne are the team's top healthy receivers. Trent Taylor played only three snaps on Sunday, and Dante Pettis was inactive.

The blowout victory was beneficial to the 49ers' defense, as the team was able to keep players fresh on the line. The team’s eight linemen played anywhere from 63 percent (Dion Jordan) to 35 percent (Alex Barrett) of the 49ers’ defensive snaps.

Here’s how much each of the 49ers played Sunday on offense, defense and special teams:

Offense

Quarterback: Jimmy Garoppolo 66

Running back: Jeff Wilson 37, Kyle Juszczyk 37, JaMycal Hasty 15, Jerick McKinnon 12

Wide receiver: Brandon Aiyuk 50, Deebo Samuel 41, Kendrick Bourne 30, Richie James 16, Trent Taylor 3

Tight end: George Kittle 60, Ross Dwelley 22, Charlie Woerner 7

Offensive line: Laken Tomlinson 66, Mike McGlinchey 66, Daniel Brunskill 66, Trent Williams 66, Hroniss Grasu 66

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Defense

Defensive line: Dion Jordan 33, Kevin Givens 31, Arik Armstead 30, Kerry Hyder 28, Javon Kinlaw 25, Kentavius Street 22, D.J. Jones 21, Alex Barrett 18

Linebacker: Fred Warner 41, Dre Greenlaw 40, Azeez Al-Shaair 30, Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 11, Joe Walker 3

Defensive back: Tarvarius Moore 52, Marcell Harris 52, Emmanuel Moseley 41, Jason Verrett 40, Jamar Taylor 30, Ahkello Witherspoon 13, Dontae Johnson 11

Special teams

Johnathan Cyprien 14, Flannigan-Fowles 14, Walker 14, Robbie Gould 13, Ken Webster 13, Johnson 13, Jared Mayden 12, Woerner 12, James 10, Witherspoon 10, Armstead 9, Kinlaw 9, Jones 8, Taybor Pepper 7, Mitch Wishnowsky 7, Hasty 7, T.Taylor 6, Tom Compton 6, Justin Skule 6, Colton McKivitz 6, Tomlinson 6, McGlinchey 6, Al-Shaair 6, Dwelley 4, Moore 3, Harris 2,J Jordan 2, Juszczyk 1, Warner 1, Greenlaw 1, Givens 1, J.Taylor 1, Hyder 1

Did not play

QB Nick Mullens

Inactive

QB C.J. Beathard, WR Dante Pettis, DB Jimmie Ward (quadriceps), DB Jaquiski Tartt (groin), DB Parnell Motley, LB Kwon Alexander (ankle)