As San Francisco Chronicle staffer Eric Branch put it, "The unexpected president of the 49ers’ running-back committee is Raheem Mostert
Head coach Kyle Shanahan spelled out what had become evident over the last two games when he said Monday the special-team ace had forced his way into a leading role by rushing for 608 yards and averaging 6.0 yards carry.
Mostert could become the eighth running back since 1970 to average 6.0 yards on at least 100 carries in a season.
In other words, so much for the timeshare - at least for now.
“Raheem’s earned it over these last few weeks,” Shanahan said. “I mean, how many games can you go and how many years can you go averaging six yards a carry?
“I mean, we keep trying to balance it out, but what Raheem has done these last few weeks and has continued to do, we need to give him more opportunities. He’s given us no choice. I’m happy for him and it’s been great. He’s been extremely impressive.”
Mostert has played 82 snaps and Tevin Coleman
has 21 over the past two games.
On Sunday, in a 48-46 win at New Orleans, Matt Breida
played 12 snaps in his return from a three-game absence due to an ankle injury.
Mostert picked up where he left off in Week 13 with 69 yards on 10 carries, 40 yards on two targets and a pair of touchdowns while playing 60 percent of the snaps. Breida played 19 percent of the snaps and ran for 54 yards on six carries, adding 4 yards on his lone target.
The biggest surprise was Coleman being limited to three carries for 6 yards on 16 percent of the snaps.
Mostert ran a 4.32-second 40-yard dash at his pro day before the 2015 draft
and was named college football’s fastest player as a senior by NFL.com.
“He’s faster than most people and I think sometimes it’s a little bit deceptive,” Shanahan said. “I mean, you see guys who have an angle on him and all of a sudden, they just don’t. I don’t know if they don’t know that he’s that fast, because our other guys are fast too.
“I’m not exactly sure what it is, but when you do it week in and week out, I mean, it’s time for people to notice. I mean, he’s been pretty damn good and he needs some more opportunities because he’s making the best of it.”
Shanahan's hot hand approach makes anyone in this backfield hard to trust, but Mostert is currently your best flex option of the group.
As ESPN's Field Yates added, "Whenever Mostert gets a chance, he produces, as he found the end zone again Sunday" and the eye test consistently suggests that he's the best runner on the roster right now.