While the 49ers could not overcome quarterback Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens in a rain-filled, windy showdown in Maryland, their offensive staff may need to start giving out more carries to running back Raheem “The Dream” Mostert.
Before the game, starting running back, Matt Breida was ruled out for his third-straight game with an ankle injury. Starting tailback Tevin Coleman had only one more yard than carries, so head coach Kyle Shanahan had to turn to his third option — Mostert.
Mostert is an other-worldly special teams’ gunner, scaring returners into fair-catching the ball, but he’s always been devoid of opportunities at the running back spot. Oh boy, did he take advantage of his chance on Sunday.
Mostert led all rushers in the game with 146 yards on 19 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter to tie it up at 14-14.
The 49ers’ backup running back had such a dominant performance, he joined Lamar Jackson, running backs Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry as the only players to rush for 146 yards and score a touchdown on 19 or fewer carries.
Coleman was struggling to find the hole in the 24th-ranked Ravens’ run defense, but Mostert did not have any problem. He continued to be patient behind the line of scrimmage, while the hole opened and he burst through it and gashed the Baltimore run defense for big gains.
Among the running backs on the 49ers’ roster, Mostert leads all rushers in yards per attempt (5.4), including a commanding lead over Coleman (3.9 yards per attempt).
Per Pro Football Focus, Mostert’s also a tough runner and does not go down easily. Two hundred thirty-seven of his 393 yards come after contact. He leads all the tailbacks with 3.25 yards after contact per rushing attempt. But not only is the undrafted free agent a tough runner, but he’s also elusive — avoiding 16 tackles, leading all 49ers’ rushers.
49ers RBs rate of runs to gain x amount of yardage...— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) December 2, 2019
Since Week 9, Coleman has been struggling to rush the ball, not reaching 50 yards rushing in any of those games. In the last three weeks, Coleman’s carried the ball 28 times for 59 yards — which simply put is not good enough.
On the flip side, Mostert was starting to take advantage of those opportunities and was the head of the snake for the 49ers’ offense on Sunday and deserves to play more as the season goes on.
Breida will likely be back in the lineup against the Saints, but I would start to shift more carries to Mostert and only put Coleman in known passing situations to utilize his route-running and pass-catching skills.
The former Purdue running back is easily the 49ers’ second-best runner at this point and deserves those carries, as it’s only going to benefit San Francisco’s rushing attack, which hasn’t been the same since early in the season.