It’s no surprise the San Francisco 49ers dealt with injuries last season en route to Super Bowl LIV. But it’s pretty shocking just how much the injuries piled up.
While the 2019 Niners largely avoided the devastating kind of injury that was Garoppolo’s the year before, injuries were still a major theme paralleling the team’s run all the way up to Super Bowl LIV.
Turns out, the Niners suffered the sixth-most injuries, according to AGL.
For the specific number, the 49ers’ AGL was 95.8, which equates to players either being unable to play because of pre-existing injuries, or players who were forced to exit a game due to injury as well.
San Francisco suffered a ton of key injuries, including plenty of the season-ending variety. Center Weston Richburg was lost late due to a knee injury against the New Orleans Saints. Nose tackle D.J. Jones also suffered a season-ending ankle injury, while linebacker Kwon Alexander‘s torn pectoral kept him out from Oct. 31 until deep into the playoffs.
Both starting tackles, Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey, missed time with injuries. So did tight end George Kittle and now-Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. EDGE Dee Ford was also out for a significant portion of the season.
Needless to say, the 2019 Niners were a banged-up bunch.
Two positives emerge here, though. For starters, at least the 49ers weren’t the worst team in this breakdown. Five other teams — Miami Dolphins (100.0), Jacksonville Jaguars (100.2), Los Angeles Chargers (103.0), Washington Redskins (131.0) and New York Jets (160.1) all had worse AGL than San Francisco.
And per Football Outsiders, the Jets’ situation ended up producing the second-worst AGL ever analyzed.
Keeping it relevant to the Niners, who dealt with plenty of other injuries than just Garoppolo in 2018, the fact they were able to navigate yet another season in which the injury bug piled up, yet still managed to make it to the Super Bowl and nearly win it, is a testament to the work put in by the front office.
One should be giving some kudos to general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan for developing and preparing the depth well enough to make it that far. Many teams can see their playoff dreams completely shattered because of just one or two injuries, yet San Francisco mostly avoided it last season.
Let’s just hope the same challenges won’t face the 49ers anywhere near as much in 2020.