SANTA CLARA — Matt Breida and Dante Pettis emerged as two of the 49ers’ greatest playmakers and damage replacements on this sideways season, however they gained’t make it to the end line.
Breida’s often-aggravated ankle damage and Pettis’ knee damage Sunday will hold them out of Sunday’s season finale in opposition to the host Los Angeles Rams, coach Kyle Shanahan introduced.
Each gamers confirmed sufficient this season to encourage hope for extra contributions subsequent season, when the 49ers welcome again quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and working again Jerick McKinnon from knee accidents.
Breida figured to enrich the multi-talented McKinnon this season, however when McKinnon tore his anterior cruciate ligament per week earlier than the season opener, it was as much as Breida to hold the load and accomplish that on a young ankle.
Shanahan used the phrases “very spectacular” and “unbelievable” to explain Breida’s season. Breida, in 13 begins, ran for 814 yards (153 carries, three touchdowns) and averaged 5.three yards per carry, fourth-best within the NFL. He additionally had 261 receiving yards (27 catches, two TDs).
“He began out nice filling in (after) dropping McKinnon. Matt stepped in instantly and performed like a No. 1 again,” Shanahan mentioned. “He had a ton of explosives, good yards-per-carry. He obtained damage early on and he’s battled each week to play for us. And he’s ended up hurting it each week, additionally.
“It’s lingered all yr. Only a credit score to him to nonetheless be efficient when he’s on the market. To have the ability to assist us all year long has been unbelievable.”
Pettis, a second-round draft decide, obtained thrust into motion as soon as Marquise Goodwin obtained damage within the opener, however a Week four knee damage saved Pettis from returning to full motion till he turned the beginning cut up finish six video games in the past. Sunday’s damage to that very same left knee is a medial collateral ligament sprain, mentioned Shanahan, who elaborated on how Pettis overcame early-season struggles to complete sturdy.
“It took him a while to comprehend how laborious it’s a must to go on each route, how actual it’s a must to be along with your approach along with your ft, how aggressive your palms need to be,” Shanahan mentioned.
“… It took Dante going by failing a little bit bit earlier within the yr, getting back from damage, (coaches) making an attempt to experience him on issues,” Shanahan added. “He began to choose up, ‘Possibly I can take it to a different degree.’ He steadily did that because the yr went, and happily he had success with that. Hopefully he realized the success he can have the tougher he goes.”
With Pettis (27 catches, 467 yards, team-high 5 touchdowns) out and Goodwin now coping with a calf contusion from Sunday’s remaining play, the 49ers may dip into their observe squad the place they’ve three receivers: Steven Dunbar Jr., Max McCaffrey and Jordan Smallwood.
Sunday’s different accidents included tight finish Garrett Celek (concussion protocol) and nickel again Okay’Waun Williams (knee).
— FOURTH-AND-FOUR: Quarterback Nick Mullens made the mistaken play — throwing a deep move out of bounds quite than working for a primary down on fourth-and-four on Sunday’s remaining offensive snap — however Shanahan was inspired by the best way he understood and digested that gaffe.
“You don’t need to rehash it very laborious while you’re coping with a sensible, trustworthy dude who retains it actual and can admit it to you,” Shanahan mentioned. “Nick is aware of what he missed. By the point he got here to the sideline after I requested him, he already knew.
“Nick made a number of performs yesterday, quite a lot of them when he broke the pocket and appeared for an enormous play as an alternative of trying to run.”
Mullens’ 1,995 passing yards by his first seven video games are the third-most within the NFL since 1970, behind the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (2,149) and the Carolina Panthers’ Cam Newton (2,103).
— NEXT YEAR’S BATTLES: The 49ers have used the previous month to embed the remainder of their first- and second-year backups into motion, and Shanahan is happy with what primarily have been encouraging outcomes combined with rising pains. “A few of these (2018) draft picks have stepped it up, and are undoubtedly exhibiting a few of our draft picks from the yr earlier than that nothing’s a lock going into subsequent yr,” Shanahan mentioned. “Gamers see higher than they hear. They’ll see guys who play effectively, they will see guys who play dangerous they usually know when guys have the potential of beating them out.”
The 49ers determine to have ample cash, maybe $60 million, to spend in free company. “We’ll undoubtedly herald just a few free brokers however you’ll be able to’t herald a bunch at each place simply to compete. These guys price some huge cash,” Shanahan mentioned. “The longer we’re right here, the longer we put these drafts collectively, the extra the competitors will come.”