If only A.J. Brown could have missed one more game. Things might be much different for the 49ers right now.
Instead, the star receiver returned from injured reserve for the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night and didn't miss a beat in San Francisco's 20-17 loss. In fact, he had a historic performance.
Brown finished with a career-high 11 receptions on 16 targets for 145 yards and one touchdown. It's his 11th game with at least 100 yards receiving and at least one touchdown, which is the third-most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2019.
Here's where it really gets tough for the 49ers. Brown's eight receptions on third down were the most by any player in the last 40 years, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The Titans as a team faced third down 16 times. They converted on nine of them. The 49ers were just 3-for-8 on third downs.
Following Thursday night's loss, the 49ers (8-7) now have played 15 games. In those 15 games, they now have allowed a receiver to gain at least 100 yards six times.
Next up is the Houston Texans and Brandin Cooks, who has 945 yards receiving through 14 games this season.