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49ers special teams takes a hit with Raheem Mostert headed to injured reserve

The 49ers coverage units have been strong in 2017. They are losing a key cog.

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan announced on Monday that running back Raheem Mostert is headed to injured reserve with an MCL sprain. Mostert and right tackle Erik Magnuson bring the total back up to 20 players on injured reserve after the activation of Tank Carradine last week.

Mostert has played almost exclusively on special teams this season, and has been a fairly high profile piece of several units. Most notably, it feels like we regularly see him making a big tackle on punt coverage. And he has been part of a punt coverage unit that is the best in the NFL.

According to ESPN, the 49ers punt coverage has been historically good. The team is tied for second in the NFL with 5.6 punts per game, but leads the league with only 2.54 yards per punt. This is the lowest total since the Atlanta Falcons allowed 2.45 yards per punt return in 2008. The Dallas Cowboys are second at 4.5 yards per punt.

Mostert appears to be working as one of the gunners on the outside of the punt coverage unit. The 49ers will rotate somebody else into that role, which will be something to watch this weekend. The Bears rank in the bottom third of the NFL in punt return stats, but all it takes is one mistake to open up a lane for a game-changing return.