Postgame Buzz: San Francisco 49ers win season opener 31-17 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 49ers are expecting to be without starting running back Tevin Coleman after sustaining a high ankle sprain on the first play of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.
“So pretty sure he’s not going to be around this week and we’ll take it week to week after that,” Shanahan said.
San Francisco (1-0) is likely to promote preseason rushing leader Jeff Wilson Jr. from the practice squad this week before playing the Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) on Sunday. Coleman had an MRI on Monday as the team traveled to Youngstown, Ohio, where the 49ers will practice before the short jaunt to Cincinnati rather than take two cross-country flights.
Coleman sustained the injury while getting tackled for a 1-yard gain on San Francisco’s first play from scrimmage in a 31-17 victory in Tampa Bay. He stayed in throughout the first half and finished with 23 yards on six attempts for a 3.8-yard average. He tried to continue playing but was ruled out after running to the locker room at halftime. Shanahan said Coleman isn’t expected to go on injured reserve.
Coleman’s replacements, Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, combined for 77 yards on 24 carries (3.2 average) while the running game sputtered on the hot and humid Florida afternoon. The 49ers finished with just 98 yards on 32 rushes while the Buccaneers made stopping the run a priority.
Shanahan made it clear, despite struggling to find consistency on the ground, the running game was going to remain a key part of the game plan, particularly as the 49ers defense played well by limiting the Buccaneers to just 295 yards. He told his team during the week the plan was to run the ball 30 times.
“You got to play good defense,” said Shanahan, “you got to do decent on third down, we didn’t do decent on third down (5 of 13), so we were able to do good enough on defense and get a few drives going to where we could get those 30 runs. And when you do that, that’s a huge team effort and I was happy with the result because of it.”
Breida, who dealt with hydration issues throughout Sunday’s game, averaged 5.3 yards per carry last season while dealing with a recurring ankle injury. He entered this year as the team’s No. 3 running back behind Coleman and Jerick McKinnon, who is on injured reserve and had right knee surgery last week.
Mostert is a primary special teams player who ran the ball well in spurts. He averaged 8.9 yards per carry during a four-game stretch midway through last season before fracturing his forearm and landing on injured reserve. Mostert has just 50 carries in his career with 34 coming in 2018.