A quick look at the box score would indicate 49ers wide receiver Jauan Jennings wasn’t involved much in the team’s offense in a 31-17 Week 8 loss to the Bengals.
It turns out he was extremely involved, but didn’t get any work. Jennings played a whopping 50 snaps in 63 offensive plays and ran routes on 33 of those plays. That’s the most routes without a target this season according to a tweet from Ben Solak of the Ringer.
In 50 snaps and 33 routes, Jennings managed to earn zero targets, which is remarkable considering the team’s injury problems at wide receiver. Deebo Samuel was out of Sunday’s game and WR Ray-Ray McCloud only earned two targets on the team’s 30 pass attempts.
Jennings has become a pretty reliable option for the 49ers, particularly on third down. San Francisco faced only nine third downs in Week 8 which limited opportunities for Jennings to make an impact in that spot. Beyond that it was clear QB Brock Purdy was going to lean on WR Brandon Aiyuk, TE George Kittle and RB Christian McCaffrey to try and get the passing game rolling after he tossed a pair of interceptions in Week 7. He threw 27 of his 30 passes their direction.
That left a player like Jennings to block in the run game and cruise around the field getting some wind sprints in when the 49ers turned to the passing game.
A better distribution of targets may ultimately help Purdy and the 49ers’ offense, but they have a handful of other problems to iron out before they prioritize getting touches for a player like Jennings.