No. 3: Saints run game has its way against 49ers
Stopping the run has been the 49ers’ kryptonite for much of the season. They sit 22nd when it comes to yards allowed on the ground and have given up 81 rushing first downs, which is tied for seventh worst. It doesn’t get any easier after facing the league’s best running quarterback in the Baltimore Ravens’ Lamar Jackson last week.
On Sunday, the 49ers will have to find a way to stop running backs Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, as well as quarterback Taysom Hill, who is extremely dynamic. But we’ll get to him in a bit. Let’s just focus on the running backs: Kamara and Murray.
Kamara is a 5-foot-10, 215-pound power back, who isn’t having the greatest season. He’s only tallied one rushing touchdown and 587 yards. It’s a far cry from his totals last season of 883 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns. Now, he’s been injured a bit this year, but the Saints certainly wanted more. However, with a relatively weak 49ers run defense, Kamara could have his best game of the 2019 season. If the Saints offensive line can great enough holes for Kamara to sprint through, the second and third levels of the Niners defense will struggle to take him down.
The other back the 49ers will need to worry about is Murray. The product out of Central Florida is having himself a fine first season in black and gold. He’s got himself five scores on the ground and tacked on his first career receiving touchdown. On 106 carries, he’s rumbled for 464 yards, which averages to just over 4 yards per carry.
Murray’s emergence has brought a new dynamic to the already-stout Saints offense. Murray brings a lot of speed to the table.
Just look at how quick he gets through the gap and accelerates into the secondary on this touchdown against the Carolina Panthers:
If the 49ers want to steal a victory in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, they’ll have to quickly adjust to the Saints run game.