By Sam McPherson
The San Francisco 49ers are winless this season through nine games, thanks to a variety of injuries and painfully close losses earlier in the season. The team lost five straight games at one point by a combined 13 points, although the 49ers have been blown out in the last three losses by a combined 63 points. Now, they have one last chance for the first win of the year this Sunday at home before the bye week gives the team more time to think about another lost season.
The ailing New York Giants come to town with a 1-7 record themselves, and San Francisco is hoping to capitalize on the opportunity for a victory. After the bye next week, the 49ers’ final six opponents have a combined 28-21 record. Although the S.F. roster is getting healthier—not including those players lost for the season already—the opponents on the schedule are going to be tougher from here on out. Hence, there is some urgency right now to win this game.
Thomas and Williams questionable for the defense
Defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, the team’s top draft pick out of Stanford last spring, was limited this week in workouts due to low-grade MCL sprain suffered in Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Thomas didn’t play last week, and chances are he won’t play this week, either, with the bye week waiting on the other side of Sunday’s matchup against New York. Meanwhile, cornerback K’Waun Williams (quadricep) also couldn’t practice fully this week after missing the last two gams with his injury. His availability on Sunday could be a game-time decision.
Four 49ers definitely out on Sunday
The S.F. coaching staff will be without the services of four players against New York, two on either side of the ball. Tight end George Kittle’s ankle injury will force him to miss his first game of the season, after having caught 27 passes through the first nine games. Wide receiver Trent Taylor has some banged-up ribs, and he also will miss his first game of the year. Taylor has caught 24 passes this year, in addition to being the team’s full-time punt returner. The 49ers hope they won’t have any problems on special teams in Taylor’s absence.
On defense, linebacker Elijah Lee has a knee issue that prevented him from finishing the game last week against the Arizona Cardinals. He was unable to workout this week. Also, while defensive lineman Aaron Lynch was able to participate in practices this week on a limited basis, his calf injury still will not allow him to see the field against the Giants on Sunday. He’s missed the last three games with this injury as well.
Giants hurting on defense
Eight players on the New York defense showed up on the injury report this week, and that could benefit the 49ers offense, which has struggled for three weeks in a row. The Giants have three LBs definitely out for the game—B.J. Goodson (ankle), Devon Kennard (quadricep) and Keenan Robinson (quadricep)—while CB Donte Deayon (ankle) is listed as doubtful. Four other N.Y. players are questionable: LB Jonathan Casillas (neck), LB Calvin Munson (quadricep), defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) and defensive end Kerry Wynn (knee).
- (DL) Solomon Thomas (Knee) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (CB) K’Waun Williams (Quadricep) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (TE) George Kittle (Ankle) — Unable to Participate In Practice
- (LB) Elijah Lee (Knee) — Unable to Participate In Practice
- (DL) Aaron Lynch (Calf) — Limited Participation In Practice
- (WR) Trent Taylor (Ribs) — Unable to Participate In Practice