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Kyle Shanahan: Raheem Mostert’s “given us no choice” but to play him

Josh Alper

The initial plan for the 49ers backfield this season called for Tevin Coleman, Matt Breida and Jerick McKinnon to split time, but it didn’t take long for that plan to change.

McKinnon went down with a season-ending knee injury during the summer for the second straight year, Tevin Coleman missed time at the start of the year with an ankle injury and Matt Breida missed time with a similar injury more recently. Raheem Mostert has played in all 13 of the team’s games and he’s now running as the team’s top back.

Mostert has played the most snaps of any running back over the last two weeks, and he’s run 29 times for 215 yards, caught four passes for 48 yards and scored three touchdowns over that span. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said that’s going to lead to more playing time in the weeks to come as well.

“Raheem’s earned it over these last few weeks,” Shanahan said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “I mean, how many games can you go and how many years can you go averaging six yards a carry? I mean, we keep trying to balance it out, but what Raheem has done these last few weeks and has continued to do, we need to give him more opportunities. He’s given us no choice. I’m happy for him and it’s been great. He’s been extremely impressive.”

The 49ers have the second-best rushing offense in the league and they’ve done it by utilizing all of their available backs in a lead role at one time or another. Mostert will try to extend his run against the Falcons this Sunday.