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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

49ers planned to rest Jerick McKinnon while starting Jeff Wilson at RB against Patriots

Oct 25, 2020 at 7:03 PM--

What went into the decision by the San Francisco 49ers to give Jeff Wilson the start at running back in their 33-6 win over the New England Patriots on Sunday?

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan explained his thinking after the game, saying the team knew early in the week it would likely be starting Wilson or undrafted rookie JaMycal Hasty after Raheem Mostert suffered a high-ankle sprain in a Week 6 win over the Rams. The reason for starting Wilson over Jerick McKinnon was due to the workload McKinnon has experienced as of late due to injuries to Mostert and Tevin Coleman (knee).

"The plan was to rest Jet a little bit with how much he's gotten the last few weeks," Shanahan said. "We were going to go with Hasty or Jeff depending on their health. Jeff showed in practice he was healthy enough to go. Once he got cleared it was a pretty easy decision."

Wilson had his own health issues heading into the week (a calf injury that left him listed as questionable to play against New England), but the decision to start him against the Patriots proved to be the right one. Wilson rushed for 112 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries before leaving the game with an ankle injury of his own, while Hasty chipped in nine carries for 57 yards.

Meanwhile, McKinnon was able to get the rest the 49ers wanted him to have, which will put him in a better position in the weeks ahead.

"We were down to three left, and we were able to rest Jet and play him only on third down, which will help him a lot going forward," Shanahan said.

Mostert will remain sidelined for the near future after being placed on injured reserve last week, while the 49ers may need to be ready to be without Wilson for the time being as well. But with Hasty showing promise against the Patriots as well as a rested McKinnon and Coleman getting closer to a return, the 49ers may have enough to manage the situation at running back until Mostert and Wilson return.

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