The 49ers’ running back rotation was not much of a rotation at all.
Rookie Elijah Mitchell returned to the lineup after missing the previous two games with a shoulder injury. He was on the field for 44 of the 49ers’ 65 offensive snaps in the team’s 17-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
Mitchell is the clear No. 1 back after injuries to Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. The sixth-round pick from Louisiana carried nine times for 43 yards and caught two passes for 19 yards.
Trey Sermon, whom the 49ers traded up to select in the third-round draft of the 2021 NFL Draft, started the past two games in Mitchell’s absence. He averaged 4.4 yards on his first 31 rushing attempts.
On Sunday, Sermon was on the field for just two offensive plays and had one carry for 7 yards.
Playing time was not an issue for second-year wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. He played 46 snaps, but his overall production is still lagging far behind from his impressive rookie season.
Aiyuk caught two of the four Trey Lance passes intended for him. He had 32 yards receiving, including an impressive 26-yarder that helped set up Deebo Samuel’s 13-yard touchdown run.
Last season, Aiyuk averaged eight targets a game with five receptions for 62.3 yards per game.
On defense, the 49ers rotated nine defensive linemen into the action. Among them, Dee Ford saw the least playing time with 11 snaps.
There was no rotation at cornerback, as Emmanuel Moseley and Josh Norman played all 61 snaps. Dontae Johnson remained in the role of the nickel back. He was on the field for 44 plays, and forced a fumble when he stripped running back Chase Edmonds and recovered it in the fourth quarter.
Here is a look at how much action each 49ers player saw on offense, defense and special teams:
Quarterback: Trey Lance 65
Running back: Elijah Mitchell 44, Kyle Juszczyk 42, Trey Sermon 2
Wide receiver: Deebo Samuel 56, Brandon Aiyuk 46, Mohamed Sanu 30, Travis Benjamin 15, Trent Sherfield 9
Tight end: Ross Dwelley 59, Charlie Woerner 21, Tanner Hudson 1
Offensive line: Daniel Brunskill 65, Laken Tomlinson 65, Mike McGlinchey 65, Alex Mack 65, Trent Williams 65
Defensive line: Arik Armstead 42, Nick Bosa 42, Javon Kinlaw 36, D.J. Jones 26, Kentavius Street 25, Samson Ebukam 22, Maurice Hurst 21, Arden Key 19, Dee Ford 11
Linebacker: Fred Warner 61, Azeez Al-Shaair 56, Marcell Harris 17, Talanoa Hufanga 5
Cornerback: Josh Norman 61, Emmanuel Moseley 61, Dontae Johnson 44
Safety: Jimmie Ward 61, Jaquiski Tartt 61
Special teams: Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 16, Harris 16, Hufanga 16, Deommodore Lenoir 14, Trenton Cannon 12, Tavon Wilson 11, Sermon 11, Sherfield 9, Jacques Patrick 8, Dre Kirkpatrick 7, Hudson 7, Ward 7, Dwelley 6, Armstead 6, Johnson 6, Joey Slye 5, Werner 5, Mitch Wishnowsky 4, Taybor Pepper 4, Al-Shaair 4, Jones 4, Aiyuk 3, Key 3, Kinlaw 3, Tom Compton 2, Jake Brendel 2, Brunskill 2, Tomlinson 2, McGlinchey 2, Juszczyk 2, Samuel 1, Sanu 1, Tartt 1, Norman 1, Moseley 1, Warner 1, Bosa 1, Street 1, Ebukam 1, Ford 1