PHILADELPHIA – The San Francisco 49ers did not intend to use the newly acquired running back Trenton Cannon in any role other than the special team on Sunday. As it turned out, they had no choice but to join him in the offense.
By the end of San Francisco’s 17-11 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles, the Niners had lost their top three running backs to injury in a span of about five minutes. It came after starter Raheem Mostert was lost to a season-ending left knee injury last week against the Detroit Lions.
First it was starting Elijah Mitchell’s right shoulder, then it was an ankle injury for JaMycal Hasty, and finally it was a concussion for rookie Trey Sermon. Mitchell left after a 1-yard touchdown run was knocked down by 11 minutes, 4 seconds to go, and Hasty and Preaching were out at the 5:45 mark.
Hasty and Sermon did not return to the game, while Mitchell came in again with 5:26 to play. After the game, Niner’s coach Kyle Shanahan said the hope was that Mitchell’s injury was just a stinger and would not be something that lingers in the long run.
Mitchell is scheduled to undergo additional tests when the team returns to the Bay Area.
“He said he was good enough to come back, so that’s when you think it’s a stinger, but until you have time to take an MRI and stuff like that, you never know,” Shanahan said . “But we hope it was just a stinger. You usually feel good about the way he spoke and the way he was able to get back in the game.”
The Niners finished with 117 yards on 38 carries, averaging just 3.1 yards per carry. Attempts at a day where every yard was hard to get past.
After rushing for 104 yards in his NFL debut last week, Mitchell started in Mustert’s place, but struggled to make much work on the ground as the Niners’ offense only got on track late in the first half. Mitchell finished with 17 carries on 42 yards and had two catches for 11 yards.
Hasty had the most success for the Niners runners and carried five times in 38 yards to go with four catches on 21 yards. The sermon scored 8 yards on his lone carry, but suffered a concussion when he took shoulder and helmet shots to the head on the attempt.
The sermon will immediately go into the concussion protocol and must clear it before he can return to the field. Shanahan was unsure of the severity of Hasty’s ankle injury after the match and also he is ready for further testing back in the Bay Area.
Between Hastys and Preach’s exits and Mitchell’s homecoming, Cannon once carried and lost 1 yard to put a cap on a whirlwind week in which the 49ers claimed him from exemptions from the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday.
“He’s only been here since Wednesday and we dressed him up to help us with special teams today,” Shanahan said. “And from what I saw, he did a hell of a job, and we did not expect him to come in by running back, but I think he went in, and I’m just glad that he knew what to do. “
Depending on the status of Mitchell, Hasty and the Sermon coming Wednesday practice, the 49ers may be able to add another back to the mix. Veteran full-back Kerryon Johnson could be an option if needed after he was signed to the coaching staff last week.