Kyle Shanahan likes how 49ers WRs are throwing their weight around – The Athletic

The 49ers have gotten back into the playoff hunt by playing bully ball on the ground, an approach they’re likely to stick to Sunday against a Vikings defense that ranks 27th in run defense and that will be missing a big chunk of its defensive line.

Minnesota’s top run stopper along the line, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list this week and will miss the game. Two others, defensive tackle Michael Pierce and defensive end Danielle Hunter, are on injured reserve, while defensive end Everson Griffen’s status is fuzzy after police and team psychologists were called to his house Wednesday morning.

The teams last faced each other in the 2019 divisional playoffs, a game marked by a huge number of carries — 47 — by the 49ers. They haven’t quite duplicated that in their recent outings, but have come close with 44 runs against the Rams in Week 10 and 42 on Sunday, both of them blowout wins.

The grind-it-out approach has been reflected in the statistics. The 49ers have nearly doubled their opponents’ time of possession the last two weeks and have eight scoring drives of seven or more plays in that span.

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