For the Seattle Seahawks to win the NFC West, it’s important to monitor the situation with the San Francisco 49ers. And while the Seahawks got the worst kind of news on Rashaad Penny and his torn ACL, San Francisco has also had a bad day on the injury front.
49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan announced that the team has lost center Weston Richburg for the season with a torn patella tendon. “His ability to pick up blitzers and win in pass protection will be challenging to replace,” according to our friends at Niners Nation. It sounds as though Richburg had been more than living up to the five-year, $47.5 million deal that he signed in 2018 after four years with the New York Giants.
The Niners turn to backup Ben Garland for the rest of the season and playoffs. Garland was an undrafted free agent in 2012 and made his first start in 2017, at guard for the Atlanta Falcons. (Meaning that Shanahan became familiar with Garland during his time with the Falcons in 2015-2016.) He has made seven career starts, all at guard.
San Francisco will also be without cornerback Richard Sherman for at least the next two weeks, as he suffered a hamstring strain. That could put Sherman back in time to face the Seahawks in Week 17, but at the earliest given this timeline. Fellow corner K’Wuan Williams, who has played in 61% of the defensive snaps, is now in the concussion protocol and will need to be cleared before he can return.
Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt missed the last game with a rib injury, his first game missed this season after playing in nearly every snap.
Another significant injury on defense belongs to defensive end Dee Ford, who will miss the rest of the season with a hamstring strain. Ford has only played in 222 snaps this season — less than 30% of the total — but he has 6.5 sacks. I am guessing that could mean more snaps for Solomon Thomas, who has 279 snaps this season but only 2 sacks.
Defensive tackle D.J. Jones, a player not talked about much outside of San Francisco perhaps but a regular member of the rotation and a favorite for 49ers, is expected to miss some time with a sprained ankle.
If Williams and Tartt were out, that would leave the 49ers with only 2/5ths of their secondary and two key members of their front seven. Offensively, they’ll be without their starting center.
San Francisco hosts the Atlanta Falcons and LA Rams in the next two weeks before heading to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in the season finale.