The San Francisco 49ers might have to finish Sunday night’s NFC Championship game without one of their dynamic running backs.
The 49ers were on the verge of taking a 17-0 lead partway through the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers when running back Tevin Coleman dove for extra yards at the end of a first-down play and came down awkwardly on his right arm as braced for the fall deep in Packers territory.
Coleman stayed down in evident pain as San Francisco’s training staff rushed to attend to him and, despite being able to stand, was carted off the field to be evaluated for a shoulder injury. He was originally ruled questionable to return but, in the second half, was officially ruled out for the rest of the game.
Coleman had run six times for just 21 yards was proving a nice complementary option to Raheem Mostert for the 49ers through roughly the first 20 minutes of the game, but the Packers didn’t seem to catch much of a break with Coleman exiting the game. Mostert scored on a 9-yard touchdown run on the play after his fellow rusher exited the game, putting San Francisco ahead 17-0 with 9:12 left in the second quarter.
Still, Coleman is a loss the 49ers hope to avoid after he rushed 137 times for 544 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season and produced big numbers in last week’s divisional win over Minnesota, finishing with 105 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He came to San Francisco during the offseason on a two-year, $10 million deal after spending his first four seasons in Atlanta.
Follow the Heavy on NFL Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
San Francisco Can Win With Mostert
While the 49ers outplayed the Packers in all phases during the first half, the biggest reason for their 27-0 lead coming into halftime is their dominant run game.
The Packers defense looked outright incapable of stopping the run in the first two quarters as Mostert rushed 14 times for 160 yards and three touchdowns. To put that into perspective, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw just six total passes in the first half, completing four of them, and needed to little other than serve as a game manager while Mostert cut loose.
Mostert took just as many carries (137) as Coleman did during the regular season but got more out of them with 772 rushing yards and eight touchdowns — both team-highs. He also caught 14 passes on 22 targets for 180 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns, making his breakout season all the more spectacular.
After spending portions of each of the past two seasons on the injured reserve list, Mostert signed a three-year contract extension with the 49ers during the offseason and began to deliver right away, rushing for 83 yards and catching for another 68 and a touchdown in Week 2’s win over the Cincinnati Bengals. While he only tallied one game with more than 100 rushing yards, Sunday’s performance against the Packers thus far proves he’s capable of handling a bulk of the work.