The 49ers may have lost their Week 4 matchup to the Seahawks, but Trey Sermon finally had himself a game worth documenting.
Especially with all the things that went wrong, particularly on offense, in a game where the Niners dominated all the first-half action with the exception of the scoreboard.
Yet one of the reasons the Niners had some first-half success, at least offensively, was because rookie running back Trey Sermon finally made a notable impact.
True, Sermon found the end zone for the first time as a pro in the Week 3 loss to the Green Bay Packers. Aside from that, though, it’s hard to get excited about Sermon’s 31 rush yards on 10 carries. It’s also understandable why being bearish on San Francisco’s third-round NFL Draft pick was a thing, especially with Sermon’s increased role this season only coming in the wake of serious injuries suffered by the team’s other tailbacks, Raheem Mostert, Elijah Mitchell and JaMycal Hasty.
Yet Sermon managed to at least make a sizable dent in Seattle’s defense last Sunday, and hopefully, that’ll be the sign of things to come.
Both for him and the 49ers rushing offense.
Trey Sermon has first impressive game with 49ers in Week 4
There’s a lot of blame to go around as to why the Niners managed only seven first-half points despite outgaining the Seahawks 219 yards to 80 over the first two quarters. Perhaps San Francisco going just 1-of-6 on third-down tries before halftime was a reason.
At any rate, at least Sermon was able to put up some numbers indicative of him having a bigger role even when the 49ers begin to get healthier at the position again.
In total, Sermon rushed 19 times for 89 yards, averaging 4.7 yards per carry.
True, Seattle’s defense isn’t exactly known for being prolific against the run. Entering Week 4, Football Outsiders ranked the Seahawks in the bottom half of defensive DVOA against the run.
Nevertheless, Sermon was able to pick up chunk carries, frequently picking up 6 and 7 yards on the first attempt from scrimmage.
49ers will need Trey Sermon to shoulder a bigger load
While there won’t likely be much chatter about Sermon heading into the Niners’ Week 5 matchup against the undefeated Arizona Cardinals will center on the team’s quarterbacks, Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance, especially in the wake of Jimmy G’s calf injury, one should expect Sermon to have to carry the offense a lot more.
Even if it’s solely to make Lance’s life easier.
Typically, young and developing quarterbacks perform better when play action is working, and play action is only effective if the run game is performing up to expectations. For much of the year, this hasn’t been the case for San Francisco, as the team was averaging just 3.6 yards per attempt, good for 25th, entering Week 4’s contest against Seattle.
Yes, Lance’s own rushing prowess could afford the 49ers to do a number of different things on offense, particularly if he’s asked to start in Week 5. But having Sermon as another option to move the ball with some modest effectiveness is a vital component, too.
The Cardinals allowed an average of 5.3 yards per rush in their Week 4 win over the Los Angeles Rams and also boasted the league’s second-worst rushing defense, in terms of yards per carry (5.4), entering the weekend’s slate of games.
Perhaps that’ll be another opportunity for Sermon to pick up where he left off.
And considering the challenges the Niners offense has faced this season already, at least getting Sermon into a position where he can contribute more would be a step in the right direction.