Running back Carlos Hyde of the 49ers said he felt “kind of dizzy” after suffering a blow to the crown of his helmet in the third quarter Sunday, but he was cleared of a concussion.
Hyde had 43 rushing yards when he encountered Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the end of a nine-yard reception with six minutes left in the third quarter.
“I was kind of dizzy when I got up, but I was good when I got to the sidelines,” Hyde said.
Doctors examined Hyde on the 49ers’ bench, then took him to the locker room for further evaluations. He passed their tests but did not return to the game, won by the Steelers 43-18.
“I had my helmet (and was) ready to go in, and coach (Tom) Rathman told me I wasn’t going back in,” Hyde said.
Rookie Mike Davis took all of the carries from that point. He failed on two attempts to get into the end zone from close range in the third quarter, and the 49ers turned over the ball on downs.
Davis finished with 14 yards on seven carries, and fellow rookie Jarryd Hayne had three yards on two runs in the first half. Hyde also was shaken up after a low hit in the first quarter.
Hyde led the league in rushing after a 168-yard, two-touchdown effort in the season-opening win over the Minnesota Vikings.
The Steelers, however, zeroed in on him and took away much of the back-side running room Hyde found when he cut against the grain against Minnesota. Hyde said Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, his former teammate at Ohio State, warned him before the game.
“Ryan actually told me, ‘We’re going to lock in on you,’ ” Hyde said. “They did that. But (I’ve) got to get used to that, though.”
After rushing for 230 yards against the Vikings, the 49ers had 111 yards on the ground in Pittsburgh. Hyde also lost a fumble after a bad exchange with quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
“It’s a good film to watch and learn from,” Hyde said. “I’m sure we’re going to play another defense that plays us the same way. So we’ll be ready.”
Tempo trouble – The 49ers had to call two timeouts while deep in Steelers territory and were flagged for delay of game.
“That’s inexcusable,” said coach Jim Tomsula, who made getting to the line of scrimmage and avoiding game clock-related mistakes a priority in the offseason.
Tomsula said there was a different issue on each botched play. The 49ers had the wrong personnel group on one. The wording of the play call was off on another. On the third, Kaepernick couldn’t hear the call correctly, something the quarterback said was a bit of an issue throughout the game.
“Quite frankly, one (interrupted play) was a good thing because Kaepernick couldn’t make the look,” Tomsula said. “He knew we were at a critical point right there. We didn’t want to squander that one.”
Bright spot – One of the few bright spots was Kaepernick’s connection with receiver Torrey Smith, who had only one catch in Week 1.
Smith made six receptions for 120 yards Sunday, including a 75-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Smith, who spent his first four seasons with Baltimore, twice had 74-yard receptions with the Ravens. Sunday’s catch-and-run was a career best. He broke a tackle at midfield after a 25-yard pass from Kaepernick, then outraced the defense to the corner of the end zone.
Smith left because of an apparent ankle injury after a short catch in the fourth quarter. He did not return but was not on the 49ers’ postgame injury report.
Et cetera – With two more rookies – Davis and receiver DeAndrew White – in uniform, the 49ers suited up 10 rookies against the Steelers, including their entire draft class. White entered late and had two catches for 18 yards.
▪ Tight end Vernon Davis had five catches for 62 yards, his highest receiving yardage total since he had 79 against Tampa Bay on Dec. 15, 2013. Another tight end, Blake Bell, left after a blow to his back but returned.
▪ Hyde was fined $8,681 for taunting – pointing at an opponent – as he scored his second touchdown against the Vikings in Week 1.