49ers

49ers snap count: Alfred Morris, Matt Breida nearly even in opener

49ers snap count: Alfred Morris, Matt Breida nearly even in opener

Alfred Morris and Matt Breida split the rushing attempts as the 49ers now are forced to compensate for the loss of starting running back Jerick McKinnon for the entire season.

McKinnon sustained a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in practice one week before the season opener. Morris started Sunday and played 34 snaps, while Breida was on the field for 30 plays in the 49ers’ 24-16 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Breida led the 49ers with 46 yards on 11 attempts, while Morris gained 38 yards on 12 carries.

Moreover, Garoppolo was sacked three times and under pressure throughout the game. He was under pressure on 19 of his 38 dropbacks, according to Pro Football Focus.

Reserve right tackle Garry Gilliam allowed a sack, a hit and three hurries during his 24 plays in pass protection, according to PFF.

Rookie linebacker Fred Warner was a bright spot for the team, as he tallied nine solo tackles, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. He allowed just 19 receiving yards on five targets, according to PFF.

Here are the total numbers of snaps of every 49ers player who saw action Sunday against the Vkings:

Offense

Total offensive snaps: 66
Quarterback -- Jimmy Garoppolo 66
Running back -- Alfred Morris 34, Matt Breida 30, Kyle Juszczyk 26, Raheem Mostert 1, Earl Mitchell 1
Wide receiver -- Pierre Garçon 53, Dante Pettis 48, Trent Taylor 37, Marquise Goodwin 17, Kendrick Bourne 8
Tight end -- George Kittle 51, Garrett Celek 23, Cole Wick 1
Offensive line -- Joe Staley 66, Mike McGlinchey 66, Laken Tomlinson 66, Weston Richburg 66, Garry Gilliam 32, Mike Person 20, Joshua Garnett 14

[RELATED: Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers' offense bemoan blown opportunities vs. Vikings]

Defense

Total defensive snaps: 71
Defensive line -- Arik Armstead 59, DeForest Buckner 53, Cassius Marsh 39, Solomon Thomas 35, Earl Mitchell 32, Ronald Blair 24, D.J. Jones 20, Sheldon Day 17
Linebacker -- Fred Warner 71, Brock Coyle 61, Mark Nzeocha 33, Elijah Lee 10
Defensive back -- Jaquiski Tartt 71, Adrian Colbert 71, Richard Sherman 71, Ahkello Witherspoon 71, K’Waun Williams 38, Jimmie Ward 5

[RELATED: 49ers' defense starts 2018 NFL season strong in loss to Vikings]

Special teams

Total special teams plays: 28

Nzeocha 22, Tarvarius Moore 22, Mostert 18, Lee 18, D.J. Reed 14, Ward 14, Wick 14, Bradley Pinin 13, Celek 13, Marsh 13, Warner 11, Antone Exum 10, Buckner 10, Blair 10, Tartt 9, Colbert 9, Kyle Nelson 8, Greg Mabin 7, Sherman 6, Witherspoon 6, Coyle 6, Pettis 5, Robbie Gould 4, Breida 4, Juszczyk 4, Staley 4, McGlinchey 4, Tomlinson 4, Richburg 4, Mitchell 4, Thomas 4, Gilliam 3, Jones 3, Armstead 2, Williams 2, Taylor 1, Person 1, Garnett 1

Lack of 49ers' pass rush this season was predictable

saleh.jpg
USATSI

Lack of 49ers' pass rush this season was predictable

Editor’s note: The 49ers break for the bye week with a 2-8 record. This is part of a series that recaps the first 10 games with an eye to the future. In this installment, we examine what has gone wrong.

We could look at the minus-15 turnover margin.

We could look at the 49ers’ inability to close out four games in the fourth quarter.

We could look at the rash of injuries to some of the team’s top players, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Jerick McKinnon.

We could look at a number of areas that have combined to make the 49ers among the worst teams in the NFL and in strong contention for the No. 1 overall pick.

But there was one shortcoming of the 49ers that was predictable, and that led to a trickle-down of problems with the team.

Every team is looking for pass-rushers. The 49ers looked for players to get heat on the quarterback in the offseason. They ended up re-signing Cassius Marsh and adding free-agent Jeremiah Attaochu.

Marsh has been the 49ers’ best edge rusher, though he has just 3.5 sacks with 2.5 coming against the Raiders in Week 9. Attaochu proved difficult to motivate, and the 49ers cut him before the start of the regular season.

The 2018 draft was not exactly teeming with edge rushers – it rarely is – so the 49ers did not even try to reach for a player out of desperation. There was one pass-rusher who was far-and-away better than the others, and the 49ers had no shot at him.

The Denver Broncos, who already had Von Miller, invested the fifth overall pick in Bradley Chubb. He leads all rookies with nine sacks.

Marcus Davenport was considered a possibility for the 49ers at No. 9, but general manager John Lynch and the rest of the organization have no buyer’s remorse with their pick of right tackle Mike McGlinchey.

Where the 49ers might want a re-do would be in the second round. The 49ers selected wide receiver Dante Pettis. Eight spots later, the Indianapolis Colts chose edge rusher Kemoko Turay of Rutgers. Turay is tied for third in the NFL among rookies with four sacks. Davenport also has four sacks with the New Orleans Saints.

DeForest Buckner has been the team’s only consistent pass-rusher. He leads the 49ers with six sacks. Ronald Blair is tied with Marsh for second with 3.5 sacks apiece. The 49ers have 25 sacks in 10 games, but eight of them came against the Raiders.

Because the 49ers have not generated steady pressure, it has forced defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to get more creative with his calls. And that has not been successful, either.

The 49ers’ defense is based on the Seattle Seahawks scheme the Seattle Seahawks have deployed with great success for years. It is designed to be a simple three-deep scheme. But with the lack of pressure from the four-man pass rush, Saleh has tried to get inventive to generate a pass rush.

The result has been more blown coverages and exploitation of mismatches. Offenses have detected the vulnerabilities in the 49ers’ defense what would not be so easily exposed if the 49ers had a better pass rush.

NFL rumors: Washington to sign Mark Sanchez; Colin Kaepernick still unsigned

marksanchezcowboysusatsi.jpg
USATSI

NFL rumors: Washington to sign Mark Sanchez; Colin Kaepernick still unsigned

Quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Colin Kaepernick have something in common. Neither has played in the NFL since 2016.

But now, one has an NFL job, and it's not Kaepernick.

Sanchez, who last appeared in three games for the Cowboys in 2016, is expected to sign with Washington, according to multiple national reports.

Washington is in need of a backup quarterback after starter Alex Smith broke his right fibula and tibia in Sunday's loss to Houston. The team reportedly brought in several quarterbacks for a workout, but Kaepernick was not a part of the group.

Former 11-year NFL cornerback Antonio Cromartie is not a fan of Washington working out quarterbacks not named Colin Kaepernick, and expressed belief that teams continue to black ball the former 49ers signal caller.