49ers Week 8 Grades: Running Backs
There’s also another clear-cut conclusion when it comes to looking at the 49ers’ running back situation.
The third-round NFL Draft pick, Trey Sermon, is nowhere close to unseating the sixth-round rookie, Elijah Mitchell, who looked a lot like his Week 1 self and then some in Week 8 against the Bears.
Yes, the Niners offensive line was outstanding in creating lanes for Mitchell, even at one point helping push him into the end zone for a touchdown, rugby scrum-style.
But what arguably even more effective was Kyle Shanahan dialing up plenty of outside runs beyond the tackle box, taking full advantage of Mitchell’s speed, and the rookie rusher was frequently picking up 6, 7 or even 10 yards per carry with relative ease.
And late in the second half when San Francisco was trying to grind down the clock, Mitchell’s gains were getting bigger and stronger.
All told, and despite Sermon not getting a carry in the game, Mitchell finished with a career-best 137 rush yards on 18 carries, averaging 7.6 yards per rush, while No. 2 running back JaMycal Hasty contributed nicely in the receiving game with two catches for 29 yards.
When the 49ers focus on the run, good things can happen.