The 49ers took a massive hit to their running back depth chart before the season got off the ground. Jerick McKinnon, the team’s highest-priority offseason target, tore his ACL days before the start of the season. San Francisco’s running game stayed afloat though thanks to some tremendous work by the players on the back end of the depth chart.
A banged up group of 49ers running backs still churned out the 13th-most yards in the league, and averaged 4.5 yards-per-carry – tied for the 12th-best mark.
Let’s review the performance of what emerged as one of the strongest parts of the 49ers’ depth chart:
A torn ACL the weekend prior to the start of the regular season ended McKinnon’s first year with the 49ers before it could get started. San Francisco’s rushing attack was fine without the 26-year-old, but they failed to replicate what McKinnon offers as a pass catcher. Some of the other running backs did a fine job in the passing game – there’s just an element McKinnon brings in that area that will unlock new pieces of the 49ers’ offense next season.