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Why has Carlos Hyde struggled for 49ers?

Oct 29, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde (28) during the second quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports
James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers running back Carlos Hyde has always flashed upside, but never fully lived up to his potential. Over his first three seasons with the 49ers, injuries consistently plagued him, and in the past two seasons, he missed 12 games. Still, he consistently averaged over four yards per carry, and entering 2017 with Kyle Shanahan leading the way, he was expected to do big things.

Unfortunately, it’s been a mediocre first half of the season, with Hyde tallying 494 rushing yards and four touchdowns (four yards per carry). He has caught 40 passes for 268 yards, which is by far the highest number of receiving yards in his career.

Yet, something has been missing, and after a solid start to the season in which he rolled over the Seattle Seahawks for 124 yards, things have slowed down. Here’s a look at Hyde’s past five games.

  • at Indianapolis Colts: 8 rushes, 11 yards
  • at Washington Redskins: 13 rushes, 28 yards, 2 touchdowns
  • vs. Dallas Cowboys: 14 carries, 68 yards
  • at Philadelphia Eagles: 12 rushes, 25 yards
  • vs. Arizona Cardinals: 12 rushes, 41 yards

That’s a lot of mediocrity, and without those two touchdowns, it would be a brutal stretch. He has averaged over 3.4 yards per carry just once, and that came during a 40-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. What’s been going on with Hyde is tough to figure, especially considering he’s getting plenty of touchdowns.

There’s been just one game this season in which he had fewer than 15 total touches, but the production hasn’t emerged. One could blame the offensive struggles as a whole, or even Shanahan, but the real concern may be quarterback play.

Between Brian Hoyer and C.J. Beathard, the two have averaged a completion percentage of 54.9, while throwing for just 2,186 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. To make matters even worse, the less productive of the two is his current quarterback, Beathard.

The 49ers are in the midst of trying to prepare for Jimmy Garoppolo time, but there’s a real reason to argue that he shouldn’t even be rolled out this season with the team sitting at 0-9. If he isn’t brought in, then Hyde’s season is only going to get tougher because opponents can choose to stack the box against him and the 49ers offense.

Beathard has completed just 50.9 percent of his passes and has posted a quarterback rating of 62.7. For all those fantasy football owners sitting with Hyde, the hope is that Jimmy Garoppolo will play soon.

As painful as it is for fans, this has to be even tougher for Hyde. He’s currently in a contract season and will be an unrestricted free agent after this year. The more he struggles (and the offense struggles), the more his value will likely suffer. Someone will certainly still pay Hyde a fair amount of money, but it could have been a huge amount had he put together a big season.

The 49ers can’t seem to figure out their struggles, and unfortunately, it’s directly affecting one of their best offensive players.

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