Despite the sweltering conditions, the San Francisco 49ers departed Tampa Bay nearly unscathed following their 31-17 victory over the Buccaneers on Sunday. The 49ers left the game "concerned" about running back Tevin Coleman's health as the team departed to Youngstown, Ohio ahead of their Week 2 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals. Head coach Kyle Shanahan held a conference call following the 49ers Week 1 victory and gave injury updates on the running back, San Francisco's subsequent moves going forward and more.
1. Coping without Coleman
It was announced heading into the second half of Sunday's contest that Coleman suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of the final two quarters of the game. Coleman's ankle was rolled up on the first play of the day. The running back attempted to play on it but it became progressively worse, which led to the decision to remove him from the contest. It was ruled to be a high-ankle sprain, which will force Coleman to miss Week 2 against the Bengals. San Francisco's head coach ruled out the possibility of short term injured reserve, and expects the running back to be week-to-week going forward.
“I don’t think IR is a possibility right now. I think we’ll ride it out," Shanahan said on Monday. "We have to see how the week goes and see how many (running backs) we are going to need on Sunday. There’s plenty of time. In Atlanta, I think we played every game but two or three with only two running backs. Sometimes that’s the risk you take in a game. It all depends on how the rest of our roster is. And we’ll see who gives us the best chance by Saturday.”
2. Filling in at Running Back
The 49ers are likely to lean on Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert in Coleman’s absence. Mostert, who has been a primary contributor on special teams, has averaged 6.7 yards per carry over the course of his career. The fifth-year running back totaled nine carries for 40 yards (4.4 yard per carry) despite getting six fewer carries than Breida, and had a 15-yard touchdown that was nullified due to a penalty. Shanahan is confident in Mostert filling in for Coleman, and has proven to be more than a special teams standout.
“He’s going to have to step it up for us if that is the case, just like he did last night," Shanahan said. "I know Raheem wants to get on the field as an offensive player, and he’s had his opportunities here and there. It’s been a little harder this year with Tevin coming in. And it’s always hard when you’re mixing guys like Tevin and Breida. But when Tevin went down, Raheem went right in and didn’t hesitate. Broke a couple of tackles for us. …Raheem stepped in and really was a pivotal part of us winning that game.”
San Francisco also has second-year back Jeff Wilson Jr. on its practice squad who the team has the option to activate ahead of Cincinnati.
3. Pettis' Minor Setback
Sunday drew plenty of concerns when second-year wideout Dante Pettis took the field for only two of the offense’s 68 snaps against the Bucs. According to the head coach, Pettis experienced a setback with his groin, which he suffered earlier in the preseason. The 49ers chose to be patient with Pettis and went in to Sunday’s contest expecting rookie wideout Deebo Samuel to see additional snaps. Despite being limited in the season opener, Shanahan's intent for Pettis is to become more involved going forward.
“Dante had a setback with his groin injury where he missed some time at practice. That gave him a little bit of a stepback leading in to Week 1. Which made it easier for Deebo to start over him. We went in knowing Deebo was going to get more playing time. But I definitely didn’t plan on Dante only getting two reps. He should have been in more than that. That starts with me and I’ll make sure not to let that happen again."
4. Bosa's NFL Debut
San Francisco’s first round pick made his NFL debut after missing the entire preseason with an ankle injury in early August. Nick Bosa notched his first-career sack and added three total tackles and three quarterback hits on the day. It wasn’t perfect, but the rookie defensive lineman was effective in inside rushes, forcing Jameis Winston to evade pressure on multiple passing downs. Bosa appeared in just over half of the 49ers 70 defensive snaps on Sunday.
“He definitely had an effect on the game, which is what we were hoping for,” Shanahan said. “He got into the backfield a lot. He got that one sack, which started with Dee Ford, running (Jameis Winston) to him. He had a number of times where he got free, which I thought was impressive. Jameis made some very impressive escapes from the pocket on a number of those too. I thought it was a good first game. Still a lot of areas to improve. Considering what he’s been going through the last few weeks, I’d consider it a success.”
5. Contagious Takeaways
What a difference a year makes for San Francisco’s defense. The 49ers tied a Week 1 league-high with three interceptions on the day, including two returned for defensive touchdowns. Not only did the defense score 15 of the team’s 31 points, but the team topped their entire 2018 interception total (two) in the season opener alone. The 49ers defense generated four total turnovers in Sunday’s contest, an immense turnaround from their seven in 2018.
“The longer we went without interceptions and stuff last year the harder it got,” Shanahan said. “It became a burden on everyone. Just nonstop. To open up this year and to beat our interceptions from last year in one game, we’re not proud of last year at all. We’re proud that we were able to beat that right away. We can move on from that. Try to have a good record this year. The guys ran around hard. …Just like not getting them can be contagious, so can getting them.”