San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stated last week and the week prior that he’s hopeful running back Raheem Mostert returns to the lineup this week so he could suit up next Sunday against the Rams. Mostert has missed more games than he’s played, yet, he still leads the 49ers in rushing. McKinnon has 303 rushing yards, compared to Jerick McKinnon’s 294. Mostert has 26 fewer carries.
Against the Rams during the last game, it felt like Mostert was running as hard as we’ve ever seen him. Sure, he averaged 3.8 yards per carry on 17 attempts, but he was bouncing off tackles and creating yards for himself. On the season, Mostert’s 125 yards after contact almost match JaMycal Hasty’s 148 rushing yards. Let’s take at a few other stats that give the Niners rushing game hope.
Rushing numbers with Mostert on and off the field
Here’s how the 49ers fared on the ground in those four games combined:
EPA per rush: 0.02
Success rate: 43%
Yards after contact: 5.9
Yards per carry: 2.45
Six games without Mostert:
EPA per rush: -.29
Success rate: 36%
Yards after contact: 2.36
Yards per carry: 3.14
On the season, Mostert has five carries over ten yards, which is second on the team to McKinnon’s eight. While McKinnon has carried the ball better than he’s been given credit for, Mostert’s explosiveness hides the offensive line’s struggles. PFF’s” breakaway percentage” stat tracks which running backs in the NFL have the highest percentage of their yardage on 15 yards or more. Mostert was third in the NFL heading into Week 11 with 43% of his runs going for 15 yards or more. That’s remarkable considering how the 49ers offensive line has performed as run blockers this season. Give McKinnon credit, as he ranks 11th at 34.7%.
The difference is Mostert is turning his long yardage plays into touchdowns. As for the offensive line, they rank 25th in adjusted line yards, Having a running back that you know can hurt you impacts what the defense does coverage wise. When Mostert is rolling, the offense is humming because they are getting vanilla coverage looks and the quarterbacks can hit the open receivers off play-action. Mostert opens up this offense both on the ground and through the air. San Francisco is hopeful they can pick up where they left off against the Rams the last time Mostert was on the field.