The NFL is approaching the quarter point, with only the New England Patriots and Tennessee Titans on bye week. After three games, San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde is ranked No. 3 in the NFL with 262 rushing yards. He is currently the highest graded running back at Pro Football Focus. He also ranks third in DYAR and fifth in DVOA at Football Outsiders.
It is great to see him ranked so high, but it goes to show just how impressive that Week 1 performance was. Hyde rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns. He leads the NFL with 175 yards after contact. 86 of those yards came in that opener. His +5.6 overall grade comes primarily from a +5.4 performance in Week 1.
Hyde's yards per contact number is among the highest rates compared to his overall rushing yards. That goes to show a bit about how poorly parts of this offensive line have performed. We talk frequently about what that line could mean for Colin Kaepernick, but it will be interesting to see how Hyde's season progresses with an offensive line that is struggling in a big way.
I've seen some discussion about Frank Gore and the concern of Hyde playing on some awful teams. Gore played for some bad 49ers teams, but even when the 49ers were awful, he ran behind some solid offensive linemen. He got the last two years of a solid Larry Allen. He got the early part of Joe Staley's career. Even Chilo Rachal was a decent run blocker. He couldn't really pass block, but he did some things as a run blocker.
For Hyde, Joe Staley and Alex Boone provide a stronger left side, but even they are taking some hits compensating for an abysmal right side of the line. Football Outsiders has their weekly look at offensive lines, providing a look at how teams perform running at different sides of the line. The 49ers rank No. 4 running to the left end, averaging 5.87 adjusted line yards. They rank No. 24 running to left tackle, No. 26 running up the middle and to the right guard, No. 17 to right tackle, and No. 22 to right end.
They can't just keep running left end and hope teams don't adjust. I don't know if that means a change, or if they just need to get further used to the zone blocking scheme. Whatever the case, Carlos Hyde will be a key cog if this offense is going to get back on track, now or into next season.