No. 2: Wide Receiver Marquise Goodwin
While he’s not exactly a red-zone thread, veteran wide receiver Marquise Goodwin could be another big reason behind the disparity between the yardage the 49ers have been able to gain and the ability to convert those drives into end-zone pay dirt.
Goodwin, who enjoyed a career year with San Francisco in 2017 and subsequently received a three-year contract extension afterwards, hasn’t been anything close to the impact receiver the Niners needed him to be this season.
Injuries have played a big role. Early on, he was hampered by hamstring and quad issues. Towards the middle of the year, he had to take a leave of absence for a personal matter that has yet to be revealed and deserves no criticism or joking. But now, as the 49ers prepare to wrap up their 2018 campaign, Goodwin is questionable for Week 17 with a calf injury.
Just like his days with the Buffalo Bills, Goodwin has appeared to revert back to the oft-injured player that never was able to stay healthy for an elongated period of time. He’s appeared in just 11 games for San Francisco this season, and that could be the cap on his year’s efforts if that calf injury winds up forcing him out.
Why it hurt the Niners so significantly is Goodwin’s speedy ability to stretch the field deep prevented opponents from cheating up towards the line of scrimmage, opening up short and immediate passes for the trio of 49ers quarterbacks who started, while also allowing the run game to be much more efficient.
The Niners have lacked that true ability this year, meaning the hope Goodwin returns at 100 percent in 2018 is a necessity.