Three of the 49ers' most important players returned to the field Sunday, and each one made an immediate impact.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel had the 49ers' longest play from scrimmage, running back Raheem Mostert scored their first touchdown and cornerback Richard Sherman picked up their first interception against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.
Samuel, who missed each of the last three games with a strained hamstring, turned quarterback Nick Mullens' short pass into a 33-yard pickup on the 49ers' third drive of the day at SoFi Stadium.
Three plays later, and one play after a 26-yard gain from Samuel, Mostert punched it in from eight yards out to give the 49ers a 7-3 lead.
On the Rams' ensuing drive, Sherman intercepted LA QB Jared Goff.
All three players were activated from injured reserve Saturday, and all three players showed what the 49ers missed in their collective absence in rapid succession. Fewer than four minutes ticked off the game clock between Samuel's big gain and Sherman's pick.
The 49ers have lost a lot of good players to injury this season, missing the recently activated trio as much as just about anyone else who has been banged-up. Mostert and Samuel, arguably, are the 49ers' best offensive players outside of All-Pro tight end George Kittle (who's also injured), while Sherman, an All-Pro cornerback, is the unquestioned leader of the defense.
Time will tell if Mostert, Samuel and Sherman's returns enable the 49ers to get back in the playoff hunt, but the trio couldn't have gotten off to a better start Sunday.