Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
That was hard to watch. Aesthetically speaking, it was an impressive 49ers performance in a 31-13 win. But the injuries were unrelenting. This was unprecedented, even for a team as familiar with injuries as San Francisco.
Let’s talk about the game first, briefly, since there isn’t too much to take away from a strategic standpoint. This was a game defined, after the injuries, by a chasmic gap in coaching talent. Kyle Shanahan ran circles around Adam Gase, who should have never been given another head coaching job after his underwhelming stint with the Miami Dolphins. He is a man Jets fans pretty universally want fired (and wanted fired before the season).
Shanahan stayed simple, drawing up a number of easy pass plays for Jordan Reed. Jimmy Garoppolo, despite a bum ankle which saw him sidelined in the second half, was stellar, going 14-for-16 with 131 passing yards and a pair touchdowns to Reed. Brandon Aiyuk was not limited, playing almost every down as Dante Pettis was relegated to the sidelines.
Nick Mullens relieved Garoppolo in that second half, going 8-of-11 for 71 yards with an interception on a triple team effort involving Mike McGlinchey getting bulldozed, Mullens throwing behind Jerick McKinnon, and McKinnon dropping the pass.
Both Raheem Mostert, who did not return in the second half with an injury, and Jerick McKinnon had explosive runs. Mostert opened with an 80-yard touchdown run, finishing with eight carries for 92 yards. McKinnon, in addition to breaking the 49ers out of their own end zone on 2nd-and-34 for a 55-yard gain, also broke free for his own touchdown. He finished with three carries for 77 yards.
Tevin Coleman, who is not an effective runner, but doesn’t fumble the ball often, got the lion’s share of the carries, with 14 of them… for 12 yards.
Even after losing Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas two plays apart in the first quarter, and even against a supposedly revamped Jets offensive line, the 49ers defense shut down the Jets.
There was no creativity, just a lot a of Frank Gore, and the 49ers didn’t exactly have any trouble with the 37-year-old, or Sam Darnold, the third-year quarterback who has terrible receivers, a terrible coach and terrible confidence.
Gore ran 21 times for 63 yards, while Darnold was 21-for-32 for 179 yards and a late touchdown to Braxton Berrios on poor coverage from Ahkello Witherspoon. But by the conclusion of the third quarter, before garbage time, Darnold was 12-for-17… with 85 yards.
But this wasn’t about the performance. This was about a horrific day of injuries. Below is a recap of the injuries during the game:
Nick Bosa: Left knee injury, carted off field in first quarter, did not return
Solomon Thomas: Left leg injury, carted off field in first quarter, did not return
Jimmy Garoppolo: Ankle injury, did not return after first half
Raheem Mostert: Knee injury, did not return after first half
Kerry Hyder: Returned from undisclosed injury after a few snaps on the sidelines
Dre Greenlaw: Undisclosed injury on special teams
The 49ers weren’t alone in their injuries. The Jets also lost four players: WR Brashad Perriman, C Connor McGovern, CB Quincy Wilson and CB Arthur Maulet.
This all took place on the artificial turf of MetLife field which was replaced before this season. It is the same field the 49ers will face the New York Giants on next week.