Two prominent 49ers, running back Carlos Hyde and linebacker NaVorro Bowman, spent big chunks of Sunday’s game standing on the sideline and neither was happy with being pulled.
Bowman said he knew there would be a rotation among him, Ray-Ray Armstrong and Brock Coyle.
“We had a conversation and, uh, I don’t know – they’re doing what they want to do and, I don’t know. I don’t like it,” he said. “No one likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player.”
Bowman led all tacklers with 10 in the 49ers’ 26-23 overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
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Hyde, meanwhile, entered the game in sixth place among NFL rushers but gave way to backup Matt Breida for most of the second half. Hyde had been dealing with a strained oblique the last two games, but both he and coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday’s running-back ratio had nothing to do with the injury.
“That wasn’t injury-related,” Hyde said. “That was just the coach’s call. ... I don’t like it, but my boy, Matt, he’s a good back. So he did a good job going in there and making plays and stuff.”
Shanahan said the plan was to go with the “hot hand” at running back and “we felt that Breida was the hot hand at the time.”
Breida, an undrafted rookie, finished with 49 yards on 10 carries. A shoestring tackle prevented what could have been an 80-yard score. Hyde, meanwhile, had only 11 yards on eight carries, his lowest output of the season.
Bowman was noticeably depleted in the 49ers’ Week 3 game, a Thursday contest against the visiting Los Angeles Rams that came four days after a game in Seattle. The 49ers just played the second of three consecutive road games and Shanahan said the team is trying to keep the linebackers fresh. Bowman also suffered a shoulder stinger early Sunday that caused him to briefly come out of the game.
Did Bowman understand that rationale?
“I don’t know,” he said faintly. “I don’t know.”
Witherspoon’s brief debut – Third-round pick Ahkello Witherspoon made his NFL debut Sunday, but it was short-lived.
Witherspoon left the game in the second quarter when he was blocked in the back and suffered a concussion. He slowly left the field and did not return to the game.
The 49ers’ starting cornerbacks, Rashard Robinson and Donate Johnson, have struggled this season. They started Sunday’s contest, but Witherspoon filled in for Johnson during San Francisco’s second defensive series and for Robinson on the third series on which Witherspoon was injured.
The 49ers had more problems at the position in the third quarter when Asa Jackson injured his hamstring on a punt return and Robinson briefly left the game with a lower leg cramp. That forced the team’s nickel cornerback, K’Waun Williams, to take over on the outside.
Et cetera – Rookie George Kittle’s best game of the season – seven catches for 83 yards and a touchdown – came with plenty of relatives in the stands. His first cousin, Henry Krieger Coble, was in uniform for the Colts and brought a large group of aunts, uncles and cousin to the stadium.
▪ Kicker Robbie Gould has made 31 consecutive field goals dating to last season. He set a franchise record for field goals to start a season with 14. That beat Wade Richey, who kicked 13 in a row in 1999.
▪ A week after a two-sack performance in Arizona, Elvis Dumervil had 1 1/2 sacks against the Colts. The 49ers hit quarterback Jacoby Brissett 12 times.