The home stretch is here, and injuries are mounting for the San Francisco 49ers. Running back Elijah Mitchell has suffered a concussion and knee injury and will miss Sunday’s game, team officials announced. Mitchell joins a list of key contributors who will be inactive against the Cincinnati Bengals.
San Francisco 49ers Injuries Mount Ahead of Week 14 Game
Mitchell Latest in Series of Injuries
Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, arguably the most valuable offensive player on the team this year, will remain out for a second straight week. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, a fixture in the defensive scheme, is injured and poised to miss several weeks. Mitchell, a sixth-round pick in 2021, has entered the league and become an instant contributor in his rookie season. Through eight starts, he has accumulated 759 rushing yards and five touchdowns. It will not be quite as severe of a loss as Samuel, who has already passed 1,000 yards receiving and scored ten total touchdowns. Samuel is also the team’s second-leading rusher behind Mitchell.
The news comes on the heels of a 30-23 loss to a struggling Seattle Seahawks team, when Samuel’s presence was sorely missed. Once 3-5 and fading quickly in the NFC West, the Niners won three straight games, including a convincing 31-10 drubbing of the Los Angeles Rams. That streak left them with a record of 6-5 and a spot in the playoffs. They entered as considerable favorites against Seattle, who were able to snap the streak.
Among the still active players is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The Garoppolo era appeared to be ending with a whimper at the season’s halfway point, but he has been serviceable in the recent hot streak. All calls for Trey Lance are largely subdued. Garoppolo’s season stats sit at 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions, leaving him decidedly outside the game’s elite tier.
Garoppolo remains one of the biggest question marks for the team ahead of a possible playoff run. He struggled mightily against Seattle, and has yet to notch a three-touchdown game on the season. For a quarterback whose play style has settled into game managing, the shortage of weapons is a question mark this Sunday.
Shorthanded 49ers Will Face Upstart Bengals Team
The 49ers now face an enigmatic 7-5 Cincinnati Bengals team as slight underdogs. The Bengals, led by second-year quarterback Joe Burrow, have been tough to figure out. The Bengals have blown out the likes of the Steelers, Ravens, and Raiders. They also suffered embarrassments at the hands of the Chargers and Browns. They were the sole victim of the Mike White era in New York, when the Jets stole a 34-31 victory. Each team competes in a tough division and faces a tight race for a playoff spot in the next several weeks.
The schedule beyond that point vacillates between daunting and unimposing. The lowly Atlanta Falcons await one week later, followed by the formidable Tennessee Titans. The Niners will then host the Houston Texans, and close out the regular season in Los Angeles with a rematch against the Rams. With health in waning supply, the Sunday contest will have considerable playoff implications for San Francisco.
Embed from Getty Images