The San Francisco 49ers found early success in Sunday's game against the New York Giants, with two quick passing plays to wide receiver Bruce Ellington. Ellington, a fourth-round pick in 2014, has consistently been regarded as a player with a lot of potential but hasn't done much on the field in his 16 career games. He's fast, agile, elusive and has the makings of a playmaker.
He showed that on those two plays, picking up 39 yards on the two receptions.
But they were the only two snaps Ellington played in the game. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst was asked why Ellington didn't come back on the field and he really didn't have any answers to that question. He said a lot of words that didn't mean much, but ultimately said the 49ers considered putting Ellington in for the second half.
"Just the nature of the game and really in the second half where things are going smoothly you're not looking to tweak, adjust or move forward," Chryst said. "But, Bruce is coming back off a little bit of a minor injury and I think that he's done a great job."
He said a whole lot more than that, but really offered no insight on why he played so little. Ellington wasn't banged up and he looked good on the first two plays of the game, he simply did not factor into the offense after that. They liked whatever they had going, and while I think it's weird, Chryst feels good about the gameplan the 49ers had.
Personally, I feel like the 49ers don't run enough three-wide sets. Chryst mentioned Torrey Smith getting the look as opposed to Ellington but that's obvious. Ellington should never be on the field at the expense of Smith, an excellent playmaker in his own right. But the battle between Ellington and Quinton Patton is much closer and much more interesting, I think.
Patton has been frustratingly disappointing at some times and very bad at others. He makes a lot of ridiculous, bone-headed mistakes, but he also has turned some broken plays into decent gains this season. But he's done nothing to guarantee himself a spot as the third receiver on the field.
I don't know if Patton or Ellington will ever develop into great NFL receivers. I don't know which one has higher upside, but I think it's weird that Ellington isn't getting his chances, especially when he provided a couple impact plays.