49ers GM Lynch argues against resting starters in lopsided games


The 49ers, albeit just barely, hung on to beat the Detroit Lions in Week 1. 

While the 49ers were crushing the Lions 41-17 late in the 4th quarter of last Sunday's contest, Detroit would very quickly climb back into the game with two touchdowns and two sets of two-point conversions. 

A 16-point swing in the Lions' favor resulted in a much closer 41-33 win for the 49ers. 

There could be multiple reasons as to why the 49ers took their foot off the gas, but one clearly was the removal of some starters after the crushing injury to cornerback Jason Verrett, as well as the monstrous lead San Francisco maintained throughout most of the game. 

Simply put, the 49ers got too comfortable. 

Hindsight is always 20/20, and when Verrett went down it made sense as to why the 49ers would look to avoid risking injury to some of their other players. They were up big against a team that isn't very good. That decision, as smart as it might seem, resulted in a near-collapse in Week 1. 

“I think it’s a tough deal," 49ers general manager John Lynch told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger & Brooks" on Thursday. "It’s one of the deals when you play really well and get up on someone, human nature says ‘alright let me just get through here now.’ That’s the perfect recipe for getting injured."


"It’s hard with a 53-man roster, you can’t just make wholesale changes, but you would like to take guys out," Lynch added. "I think Kyle’s instinct after the game was ‘I’ll never do that again because we let a team back into it.’ You could see it coming because Dan Campbell is a fiery guy and he’s been pushing these guys in camp."

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Football is a crazy game filled with exciting come-from-behind wins. You can never be too comfortable in the NFL. If you're the 49ers though, you're going to toe the line between preserving the health of key starters and working hard to close out a game. Given their disastrous luck with injuries in 2020, it makes sense as to why the 49ers would err on the side of caution. 

“It’s not like college football where you have a hundred guys on the sidelines, we have 48 on game day," Lynch said. "You can’t take everybody off. You try and be judicious and smart about why you’re doing something. The bottom line is, whoever is in there, you have to play until the very end because these guys are all pros and they’ve got a lot to play for.”   

Fortunately for the 49ers, they prevailed and held on to claim a Week 1 victory. 

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