If only the 49ers had a good-to-elite offensive line. One might finally be able to see what No. 1 runner Carlos Hyde would have to offer over a fully healthy season.
Hyde leads all Niners rushers with 453 yards and four touchdowns. Considering San Francisco will be facing some easier opponents during the second half of 2017, it’s a real possibility the 27-year-old veteran will crest 1,000 yards rushing for the first time in his career.
Not to be outdone, though, San Francisco has received some modest production from undrafted rookie Matt Breida, who pushed out rookie draftee Joe Thomas for the No. 2 job after the preseason.
What the 49ers Are Doing Well
Hyde ranked ninth in the NFL after four weeks with an average of 4.9 yards per carry. Since then, that number has dropped to 4.0 yards per attempt, which is tied for 26th.
There’s a lot behind this, including the inadequate run blocking, although Hyde hasn’t exactly been the featured piece in head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense. To date, Hyde ranks 11th in attempts (112), which is a bit of a surprise, considering he’s the only serious weapon in Shanahan’s arsenal.
When carrying the ball, though, Hyde’s Pro Football Focus elusiveness rating spikes at 46.3, which is seventh among all qualifiers and ranked higher than the Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott and Pittsburgh Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell.
Simply put, Hyde is a difficult tackle.
What Needs Improvement
The Niners actually rank 13th in rush yards per attempt (4.2), so it’s a bit of a shock to see Shanahan’s offense placed at No. 26 in terms of overall rushes (182). So much of what the 49ers offense needs to do is predicated off a strong running game, and the Niners appear to have one.
So far, it just hasn’t taken a game over.
Hyde’s most statistically impactful game came in Week 2, where he rushed for 124 yards on 15 carries. Aside from that, though, he has had only three other games where he posted more than 60 yards on the ground and three where he posted 30 or less rushing yards.
Unlike the last two seasons, there simply hasn’t been a game where Hyde has put the offense on his shoulders.