The San Francisco 49ers were one of two previously unbeaten teams that fell in Week 6. Their 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns also resulted in some injuries to key playmakers on both sides of the ball. Fortunately for the 49ers, the team will have an extra day of recovery in Week 7 with "Monday Night Football" versus the Minnesota Vikings next on the schedule.
After reviewing the game tape, here are the three biggest takeaways from head coach Kyle Shanahan:
The 49ers have five players working through injuries headed into Week 7.
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder), left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) and safety George Odum (quad contusion) are all day-to-day with their respective injuries from the team's Week 6 contest. Running back Christian McCaffrey (rib/oblique) was undergoing an MRI at the time of Shanahan's address to the media and is awaiting results for the examination.
Samuel, who made a first quarter exit from the game, was injured on the first play of the game on a jet sweep.
"(Samuel) just took a shot on the shoulder," Shanahan said. "It didn't look overly big or anything. It just connected right, so it got him."
There is less clarity when it comes to McCaffrey's injury. The head coach mentioned McCaffrey pointed to four plays in which he could have aggravated his oblique/rib but ultimately the team is unsure.
Meanwhile, linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who was inactive against the Browns, continues to work through a hamstring issue that popped up last week. He is expected to be ready to go on Thursday when the team opens up the practice week.
Should McCaffrey be unable to go for Week 7, Shanahan expressed his confidence in the 49ers stable of running backs.
Barring any injuries during the practice week, Shanahan will have both Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason available and ready to take on extra workload in Week 7 should McCaffrey have to miss any time. Although Mason did get the go-ahead of Mitchell this past Sunday, the head coach was quick to highlight Mitchell, who was the 49ers rushing leader in 2021.
"Elijah has earned a ton with us over these years," Shanahan said. "Elijah, when he's healthy, has been as good of a back as there is... I also can't take away anything from J.P. Every time J.P. has gotten an opportunity, you guys have seen how he's done. Both of those guys have done very well.
"Elijah came back to practice late last week on Thursday. He only got one true day of practice in, and that's why J.P. got the first nod once Christian came out. We have two really good players there, and I know Tyrion Davis-Price is waiting for his opportunity also. Hopefully, Christian will be good to go this week, but if not, we have a group of backs we can rely on."
Shanahan detailed some breakdowns in the 49ers run defense that the team will look to clean up moving forward.
After holding teams to an average of 64.2 rushing yards a game through the first five weeks of the season, the 49ers defensive unit uncharacteristically gave up 160 yards to the Browns in Week 6. San Francisco managed to avoid giving up 100 yards to any one of the Browns running backs, but collectively, the unit was able to get three players with 20-or-more yards. Cleveland's offense ultimately was able to find a rhythm in the fourth quarter and scored back-to-back field goals to secure their win.
"If I had to guess, it was our most missed tackles on the year," Shanahan said. "They got our edges way too much, just blocking down our defensive ends and getting around... When they got our ends and we didn't get our safeties downhill, they bled us out too much. When you add on a couple of those missed tackles, it was way too much, especially when you have a quarterback coming in that hasn't started yet. The best way to make that guy uncomfortable is to take away the run game."