The San Francisco 49ers welcomed back some players to the active roster on Sunday, and the snap count reflected it. Well, that and the injuries of note.
Mario Manningham made his return to game action on Sunday, and was plenty busy. He finished with 42 snaps, second only to Anquan Boldin's 47 among 49ers wide receivers. Manningham got in three weeks of practice after opening the season on the PUP list, and it's safe to say he will be the No. 2 receiver until Michael Crabtree returns.
Aldon Smith made his return from the NFI list, but it was much more limited. Smith played only 12 snaps, or 18 percent of the total defensive snaps. He played almost exclusively on clear pass situations, focusing mostly on 3rd and long plays. After the game, Smith said he was aware he would not play all that much. He wanted to play more, but acknowledged it was a call by the coaches. I suspect we'll see more of Aldon as the weeks move on, particularly next week against a pass heavy attack in New Orleans.
LaMichael James also made his return to the lineup. James had three offensive snaps and seven special teams snaps. He got one run in for -1 yards (although he did have a nice spin move on the play), and three punt returns for 35 yards. Considering Kyle Williams was averaging only 5.1 yards per punt return, I'll take James' 11.7 per return.
Speaking of Williams, he had 20 snaps at wide receiver, and none on special teams, while Jon Baldwin had three wide receiver snaps and none on special teams. The 49ers deactivated Kassim Osgood. While I don't think anybody can say with certainty that Osgood would have made the difference on Ginn's solid returns, but it's worth a thought.
Ray McDonald departed in the second quarter with an ankle injury, and that led to more work for Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs. TJE ended up with 39 snaps on the day, or 57 percent of the defensive total. Eric Reid departed with a concussion, and that led to 28 defensive snaps for Craig Dahl. Given that this is Reid's second concussion of the season, I would be a bit surprised if he was back playing on Sunday against the Saints.