You almost have to grade the 49ers running backs on a curve, especially considering they lost their chief weapon here, Jerick McKinnon, to an ACL injury before the regular season even began.
That meant a lot of second-year running back Matt Breida, who was also banged up for most of the year before landing on injured reserve in Week 17 with an ankle injury.
Early in the season, Breida was leading the NFL in both average yards per carry and total yardage on the ground — pretty impressive from an undrafted free agent. On top of that, Breida ended up recording the fastest time among all players, as Niner Noise’s Chris Wilson pointed out earlier.
Breida ended up finishing with 814 total yards, three touchdowns and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, which ranked fourth best among qualifying runners this season. That’s impressive, considering the time missed with injuries.
What keeps this unit in the A-range is the fact Kyle Shanahan managed to get solid production from other runners, too, namely usual-special teams ace Raheem Mostert, who landed on IR with a broken forearm, and UDFA rookie Jeff Wilson, who’ll look to carve out a role on the roster in 2019.
Heck, even veteran tailback Alfred Morris got in the mix with 111 rush yards to close out the year in Week 17.