SF 49ers: 5 causes behind Niners 2020 playoff elimination
By Peter Panacy
No. 4: Not all the SF 49ers injuries are created equal
It’s one thing to suffer a lot of injuries. It’s entirely different when those injuries fall upon key cornerstone pieces.
In the Niners’ case, one can simply look at the loss of many of their best players this season as a prime reason why the postseason is now out of reach.
Losing EDGE Nick Bosa, the team’s best pass-rusher and the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year, to a season-ending ACL tear in Week 2 was a massive blow. It didn’t help San Francisco getting just one game, Week 1, out of fellow pass-rusher Dee Ford before he was sidelined indefinitely with back and neck injuries. Likewise, the later loss of strong safety Jaquiski Tartt to a toe injury forced the insertion of backup defensive backs Tarvarius Moore and Marcell Harris into the starting lineup, and neither has been overly impressive as far as starting-caliber players.
Yet San Francisco’s defense hasn’t been the primary culprit, still ranking fifth best this season in total yards allowed (4,400) despite what happened versus Dallas.
No, rather the offensive injuries have been more problematic. A regularly revolving door along the offensive line’s interior, namely at center and right guard, has created issues, yes. But the SF 49ers losing George Kittle to a broken foot halfway through the season removed their best offensive weapon. The No. 2 most-proven offensive weapon, running back Raheem Mostert, missing six of a possible 14 games was a huge blow, too, as was the recurring loss of Deebo Samuel to various injuries.
Simply put, a rotating door on offense put more pressure on Kyle Shanahan’s preferred unit to the point where it couldn’t be overcome.