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Oh, Hey There! Why doesn’t the 49ers run game work without Deebo Samuel?

That, and more during today’s episode

The 49ers missed Deebo Samuel on Sunday the way deserts miss the rain. Everyone knows Kyle Shanahan’s offense is powered by the ground game, yet for some reason, they couldn’t gain any traction there without their number one wide receiver. In today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Javier Vega, and fill-in host Vish Kumaran tried to figure out why.

“I’m not going to question Kyle’s play-calling, but the Niners’ run offense was just nonexistent,” Vega said, “Does your offense just stop working when Deebo Samuel isn’t here? For Kyle Shanahan being this offensive-minded and an offensive genius, your offense should not look like this with one guy missing.”

On Sunday, the 49ers ran the ball 25 times for just 2.8 yards per carry. On Monday, Kyle Shanahan said that things would have picked up on the ground if the team had run more plays in the game. Instead, the offense played just 26 snaps in the second half, and 12 of those came on the final drive.

“Everything in the run game that they do is built on [Deebo’s] ability to go in motion, his ability to run the ball from the backfield, his ability to line up in the slot,” Kumaran said, “You can line him up anywhere in this offense, and he’s a threat to get the ball at any point, on any level of the field...Without that element, and you’re going up against a particularly good run defense, and you’re on the road, I feel like a game [like Sunday] happens.”

The question now becomes, will the 49ers continue to struggle on the ground if Deebo can’t play this week against Cincinnati? The Bengals are the league’s 4th best team against the run in terms of yards allowed this year. Putting that much pressure on any non-quarterback’s shoulders is probably not fair, but that seems to be where the 49ers are this season.

You can check out Oh, Hey There! and every other Niners Nation Podcast Network show on Apple podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else you get your pods.

Other topics in the episode

  • Have the special teams been as bad as people are saying lately?
  • What is the team going to do at cornerback now that Emmanuel Moseley is hurt?
  • A crazy Jimmy Garoppolo/Trey Lance conspiracy theory