Trend No. 3: 49ers’ running back issues
Through five games, the 49ers have had three different leading rushers with rookie running backs Elijah Mitchell (104 yards in Week 1, 42 in Week 2) and Trey Sermon (31 yards in Week 3, 89 in Week 4) and Trey Lance (89 yards in Week 5) pacing the team so far.
So while it does appear Mitchell will be the lead back when healthy, the issue of keeping the same running back on the field and producing from week to week is certainly something to keep an eye on based on the Niners’ first run of games.
Furthermore, the glaring differences between the yardages in the games have to be of concern to San Francisco fans, as neither Mitchell nor Sermon was successful for more than one game so far in a limited sample size.
The one thing to note is how little used either running back was in the Week 5 loss to Arizona, as Lance ran the ball 16 times for the aforementioned 89 yards, while Mitchell had nine carries for 43 yards (over 4.7 yards per carry) with Sermon getting just one rush for 7 yards.
Depending on what happens with the 49ers’ quarterback situation, it could have an interesting impact on the running backs, although it would behoove Kyle Shanahan to not put so much of the load as both a runner and a passer on the rookie out of North Dakota State.
The ups and downs of the 49ers’ running back room is a trend the Niners coaching staff will need to figure out so much as it depends on them, something which another trend may not allow them to do.