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Witherspoon misses 49ers' loss; adjustments made at receiver

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Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, a third-round pick in the 2017 draft, was the 49ers’ only healthy scratch Thursday night.

Witherspoon has started 30 games in his career, but he found himself left out of the action altogether in the 49ers’ 34-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium.

The 49ers were required to deactivate only three players. Running back Tevin Coleman and linebacker Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles were out with injuries. Witherspoon did not suit up, as the 49ers decided to go with their other defensive backs.

The 49ers opted to suit up Dontae Johnson and Ken Webster as their backup cornerbacks ahead of Witherspoon.

“It was more of a special-teams decision,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Got the guys out there who are starting on defense, and everyone else was based off who helps us the most on special teams.”

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The 49ers had to shuffle a lot of things around on offense, as their top three wide receivers were not available while being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

Deebo Samuel, who was not going to play due to a hamstring injury, was placed on the COVID list, along with Kendrick Bourne and Brandon Aiyuk.

The 49ers turned to Richie James and River Cracraft as their every-down wide receivers. James and Cracraft each played 51 of the 49ers’ 57 offensive snaps.

James had the best game of his three-year career, catching nine passes for 184 yards and a touchdown. Shanahan said James got all the plays that had originally been designed for Aiyuk.


Cracraft had two receptions for 13 yards. Originally, he was ruled to have caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Nick Mullens in the first quarter, but the call was overturned when it was determined he did not hold onto the ball.

Here’s how much each of the 49ers played Thursday on offense, defense and special teams.


Quarterback: Nick Mullens 57

Running back: Jerick McKinnon 42, Kyle Juszczyk 23, JaMycal Hasty 15

Wide receiver: River Cracraft 51, Richie James 51, Trent Taylor 33, Kevin White 7

Tight end: Ross Dwelley 42, Jordan Reed 13, Charlie Woerner 8

Offensive line: Laken Tomlinson 57, Mike McGlinchey 57, Justin Skule 57, Daniel Brunskill 57, Tom Compton 36, Colton McKivitz 21


Defensive line: Arik Armstead 44, Kerry Hyder 43, Javon Kinlaw 40, D.J. Jones 33, Kevin Givens 29, Dion Jordan 29, Jordan Willis 25, Kentavius Street 24

Linebacker: Dre Greenlaw 64, Fred Warner 62, Azeez Al-Shaair 31, Joe Walker 4

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Defensive back: Emmanuel Moseley 66, Jimmie Ward 62, Jason Verrett 62, Marcell Harris 33, Jaquiski Tartt 33, Jamar Taylor 31, Tarvarius Moore 4, Dontae Johnson 4, K’Waun Williams 4

Special teams

Moore 24, Walker 24, Johnson 24, Johnathan Cyprien 22, Ken Webster 18, Al-Shaair 16, Harris 15, Daniel Helm 14, Woerner 13, Austin Walter 12, Dwelley 11, Mitch Wishnowsky 10, Armstead 9, Jones 9, Kinlaw 8, Taybor Pepper 7, J.Taylor 7, Hyder 6, Jordan 6, Robbie Gould 4, McKinnon 4, Juszczyk 4, Greenlaw 4, Ward 4, Tomlinson 3, McGlinchey 3, Skule 3, Compton 3, T.Taylor 3, McKivitz 3, Hasty 3, Street 1

Did not play

QB C.J. Beathard, OL Hroniss Grasu, OL Tony Bergstrom


CB Ahkello Witherspoon, RB Tevin Coleman (knee), LB Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (hamstring)