Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports



Somewhere among a disastrous 2016 season for the San Francisco 49ers, running back Carlos Hyde is having the best season of his career. The 49ers running back is a lone bright spot on an offense that ranks 26th in scoring, 29th in total yards, and dead last in passing yards. Somehow, the 49ers running game ranks fourth in the league. A large contributing factor to that ranking has been Hyde.

The 49ers' starting running back has carried the ball 191 times for 879 rushing yards (4.6 average) and six touchdowns. No player on the 49ers' roster, other than quarterback Colin Kaepernick of course, has been responsible for more touchdowns this season. In fact, Hyde's six journeys into the end zone match all 49ers wide receivers.

Hyde is approaching a milestone. With just 121 more yards this season, he will become just the 11th player in 49ers franchise history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season. It will be his first career 1,000-yard season and he has only been a starter since 2015. Since Week 11, Hyde has rushed for 436 yards, which ranks as second-most in the NFL during that time span. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell has 620 during that same time.


The 49ers visit Atlanta on Sunday to play the Falcons, a rushing defense that ranks 14th in the NFL allowing 101.1 yards on the ground a game. On Christmas Eve, the 49ers travel to Los Angeles to play the Rams, who rank 20th in the league against the run, allowing 110.3 yards per game. That should be enough to get Hyde past the milestone. On New Year's Day, the 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks, who rank 19th against the run and are allowing 104.2 rushing yards per game.

Hyde, who missed two games this season, is averaging 79.9 yards per game, which puts him on pace for 1,118 yards this season. Of course, he has averaged 109 yards per game since Week 11 with most of that coming on Sunday against the New York Jets when Hyde had a career-high 193 yards. If he were to somehow keep his pace since Week 11, he would end the season with over 1,200 yards rushing.

On Wednesday, during a conference call with Bay Area reporters, Falcons head coach Dan Quinn said that he has been very impressed with the 49ers' running backs. "What I can say is that coming out, they look really, really well established in terms of how to run the ball," Quinn said. "I was impressed in the past by Hyde. It looks like he's running better this year than in the past."

Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area pointed out to Quinn that Hyde has been relatively healthy this season. Quinn responded by asking, "Is that what it is? Because just playing against him, I've watched him and I thought he was tough and fast and then this year, between him and [DuJuan] Harris and Shaun [Draughn], I thought, 'The running backs look terrific.'"

"The 49ers have virtually nothing in the way of skill players, but RB Carlos Hyde is really starting to show he can be a true feature back," wrote our own Al Sacco while previewing the 49ers' game against the Falcons. "If the Niners' passing game could actually give Hyde any type of cushion to work with, he could be even more devastating."

While these final games may not mean much outside of draft positioning, Hyde has definitely given the Niner Faithful something worth watching.