The 49ers did not pick up a whole lot of yards with their running game Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, but they made those yards count.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s number was called four times on short-yardage plays, and each time he followed center Alex Mack for successful -- and impactful -- plays.
“It’s really cool for our offense to be able to get a couple yards here,” Mack said. “It doesn’t help your average much but it’s a productive run and I think it really made a big difference in the game.”
In the second quarter, Garoppolo gained 2 yards on a quarterback sneak on a fourth-and-1 play from near midfield. The successful attempt did not result in points, but it was an important play for field position.
Near the end of the first half, Garoppolo gained 4 yards on a third-and-1. The first down helped set up the 49ers’ first touchdown of the game, giving them a 7-3 lead at halftime.
After an apparently 1-yard touchdown run by Elijah Mitchell was reversed on review, Garoppolo did it himself with his third career touchdown run to give the 49ers a 14-3 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Then, the 49ers put the game away when Garoppolo gained 3 yards up the middle on a third-and-1 play from their own 23-yard line.
Mack said Garoppolo says nothing too notable in the huddle for calling his own number: “All right, guys, let’s get this one.”
That play enabled Garoppolo to take a knee for three consecutive plays to run out the clock on a 17-11 victory.
Afterward, Mack was asked for what makes for a successful quarterback sneak.
“I will not tell you because hopefully we’ll be doing more,” he said.
The 49ers hope the yards will come a little easier on the ground in future games. Including Garoppolo’s three minus-1-yard kneel downs at the end, the 49ers had 38 rushing attempts for just 117 yards (3.1 average).
“They are a talented front and they did a lot to take away what we wanted to do,” Mack said. “They showed a different front than what they previously, and it took a while.”