Injuries were the story going into the game, and they are the story coming out of it.
On a day when the San Francisco 49ers should be celebrating their 31-13 victory over the New York Jets, they are instead dealing with the reality of having lost multiple players to serious injuries.
In the first quarter, over the course of three plays, 49ers’ defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas were both carted off the field.
After the game, 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan said Bosa most likely sustained an ACL injury, but they will confirm tomorrow.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said offensive lineman Trent Williams. “It’s heartbreaking. I mean, Nick is a cornerstone on this team. He’s part of the nucleus. He’s not only that, he’s a shining star on the field. He has a bright future ahead of him, so it sucks, man. And this is the part of the game nobody likes, nobody wants to talk about, nobody likes to see that thing happening, especially to premiere players like Nick.”
Shanahan said that Thomas’ injury is probably similar to Bosa’s, but the hope is that it’s less severe.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Early in the first half, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a right ankle injury but stayed in the whole half and looked sharp doing it, going 14-of-16 for 131 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 140.4. He did not return for the second. Shanahan said it is a high ankle sprain and the timetable for his return is up in the air.
“…I know with it being the high ankle sprain…I know he couldn’t go in the second half,” Shanahan said. “You’ll see how that heals. We’ve got to get on a plane tonight, you wake up tomorrow, it’ll probably feel much worse. But that’s something you really won’t be able to tell whether it has a chance or not probably til the end of the week.”
Later in the half, running back Raheem Mostert, who began the game with an 80-yard TD run, went out with a knee injury, which they think is a mild MCL sprain, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
49ers believe RB Raheem Mostert suffered a mild sprain of the MCL. How long Mostert will be sidelined depends on the MRI.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 20, 2020
“…I know that’s as many knee injuries and ankle stuff, and people getting caught on turf, as I’ve ever been a part of,” Shanahan said. “From what I saw, the other team did too. I know our players talked about it the entire game, just how sticky the turf was. And I think that was the first time people played on it, I think. But yeah, it was something our guys were concerned about right away, and the results definitely made that a lot stronger. And unfortunately it’s a place we got to go back to next week.”
The 49ers players talked about it in postgame Zoom press conferences and on social media.
@nfl fix this trash met life turf . 2020 is so wack
— Arik Armstead (@arikarmstead) September 20, 2020
“[I]t’s new turf, new field turf, and it’s always pretty tricky to play on until it’s…nice and worn down and broken in,” said 49ers offensive lineman Trent Williams. “…You never want to blame the injuries on that, but it is hard being a football player in the trenches and you kind of put your foot down in the ground, and natural grass, you got dirt.”
As mentioned, the 49ers will be back at MetLife Stadium next week to play the New York Giants, and 49ers’ players are concerned.
“…[W]e see guys you love go down and get hurt, and we’ve got to come back here and play again on the same surface,” said defensive lineman Arik Armstead, who tweeted after the game that the NFL needs to fix the turf. “That’s anxiety provoking to see that happen and know that you have to deal with it again.”
That turf gotta go
— DJ Jones (@djjones_44) September 20, 2020
The Niners are a tight-knit group, and though it was nice to get the win and improve to 1-1, it was hard to get overly excited.
“I mean, football is amazing,” Armstead said. “But those guys that I play with are my brothers, and how can I be happy when they’re going through tough situation? So, it’s great we got the win. But, life isn’t all about football and those guys are my brothers. So I’m thinking about them.”
Linebacker Fred Warner shares the same thoughts.
“Obviously it’s great to get a win, be back in the win column, but, a lot of guys went down today and my heart and prayers go out to all of them,” Warner said. “I think that’s what a lot of guys are thinking about right now. It’s tough, it’s a tough game. And to have this many injuries, this early on, it’s a sucky situation. But I mean…next man up. A lot of guys stepped up today and did a great job, so we could pull out the win. But like I said, our thoughts and prayers are with the guys who went down.”
The 49ers are going to need players to step up, as they did today, if they hope to stay competitive in the coming weeks.
“…We got a good team,” Shanahan said. “We had a good team last year, we got a good team this year. And I just told the guys that, we do have a good team, but there’s also so many guys in our place that can get a lot better, coaches and players. And when you do lose some good guys, like we did, and it’ll probably be for a while, we need guys to get better. And there’s a number of guys who can improve on our team and that’s what we got to focus on doing.”
News and Notes
- Tight end Jordan Reed had seven receptions on eight targets for 50 yards and two touchdowns. “…[H]e beat men in coverage,” Shanahan said. “His hands were great. He did a good job in the run game and really helped us to win.”
- RB Jerick McKinnon recorded his first rushing touchdown as a member of the 49ers and rushed for 77 yards overall, including an impressive 55-yard on 3rd and 31 in the third quarter to get Niners the first down.
- After a Nick Mullens interception, Trent Williams made a monster tackle on Pierre Desir that most likely kept it from becoming a Pick 6.
- Yesterday, DL Dee Ford was downgraded from questionable to OUT for today’s game with a neck injury. “Anytime you’re talking about the neck and stuff, you do have concerns about that,” Shanahan said today. “That’s why we’re pretty cautious with it this week. It is kind of a day-to-day thing though, because you’ve got to see how it reacts…”