Asked about Carlos Hyde’s long absence in the second half of Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, Kyle Shanahan on Monday said the 49ers tailback “had a couple of bad plays, but nothing to make a big deal about.”
Which two plays? There were back-to-back blunders at the start of the second half.
The 49ers received the ball in the third quarter with the score tied 6-6. On second and 4 of their initial drive, Hyde dropped a perfect pitch from quarterback Brian Hoyer and had to fall on the ball for a six-yard loss. On third down, Hyde remained in the backfield as an extra blocker but did not pick up blitzing linebacker Jeremiah George, who came in untouched and helped wrestle Hoyer to the ground.
That play came with 13:09 remaining in the third quarter. Hyde wouldn’t touch the ball again until 1:59 remained in regulation. The 49ers lost 26-23 in overtime.
Afterward, Shanahan said that rookie Matt Breida, Hyde’s backup, had the “hot hand” in the game and wanted to stick with him in the second half. He used that term again on Monday, saying that Hyde remained his first option but that Breida would continue to fill in and that the 49ers would ride the “hot hand” thereafter.
Breida played 35 offensive snaps against the Colts, the most he’s played this season. Hyde was on the field for 33 snaps.
“Hyde is who we go with,” Shanahan said. “Hyde is who I expect to be out there and nothing has changed with that. But it depends on the fronts we’re going against, what personnel groups we want in, the type of practice, the week of practice, how it’s looked. And that really goes for all positions. But I definitely see Hyde as our first guy and Breida spelling him and (sending in) Raheem (Mostert) after that.”
Hyde entered Sunday’s game ranked sixth among NFL rushers. He’s currently seventh, not including the results of Monday’s game. Hyde also is in the final year of his contract, and the 49ers are trying to decide whether to extend his deal or let him enter free agency in March.
Both he and Breida were limited as the 49ers began practicing for the Colts last week – Hyde with a strained oblique muscle and Breida with a sprained ankle. However, both practiced in full by week’s end and neither was listed on the injury report.
“That wasn’t injury-related,” Hyde said Sunday. “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.”
Said Shanahan: “We put Breida in and he was almost a shoestring away on two tackles, and we thought if we kept him in, eventually he’d get one. He didn’t, but we thought he was pretty close.”
Et cetera – The 49ers on Monday waived rookie free safety Lorenzo Jerome and replaced him with a strong safety, Dexter McCoil, whom they claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Chargers. McCoil (6-4, 220) played linebacker for the Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League in 2015. McCoil also plays special teams.
▪ Shanahan reiterated that he hoped linebacker Reuben Foster (ankle) would return to practice Wednesday but made no promise about Foster playing in Sunday’s game against Washington.
▪ The 49ers remain committed to Hoyer over his backup, rookie C.J. Beathard. “If we feel it’s the best thing for the team, the best thing for C.J., then we’ll make the move,” Shanahan said.