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Tevin Coleman Shows What The 49ers Have Been Missing

In Week Five against the Panthers, we saw a familiar face make an impact in a 37-15 victory. Who was he? What does he bring to the 49ers? How did he perform on Sunday?

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman was a free agent a few weeks ago. However, due to the never-ending revolving door around the 49ers running back room, the 49ers brought back a familiar face. In his first main game action with the 49ers since 2020, Coleman was one of the best players in Sunday’s 37-15 victory over the Carolina Panthers.

Scoring two touchdowns (one rushing, one receiving), Coleman turned back the clock against a team that he has scorched before. In 2019, Coleman scored a career-high four touchdowns against the Panthers in a 51-13 victory. Although not as great as in 2019, Coleman showed Kyle Shanahan the burst and play-making ability the 49ers have been trying to find to pair with Jeff Wilson Jr.

Since the Week One injury to Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco has been searching for a running back who could keep opposing defenses honest around the edges. Jeff Wilson Jr. has done a marvelous job filling in for Mitchell. After his disappointing season debut, since Week Two, Wilson Jr. has rushed for 353 yards on 65 carries while scoring two touchdowns.

However, when looking at the running game, the one thing lacking was that edge threat that Mitchell excels in. As we saw Sunday against the Panthers in Week Five, San Francisco found that for the first time all season.

49ers Running Back: Tevin Coleman

Tevin Coleman was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft from the University of Indiana. Coleman caught the eye of the falcons after a 2,036-yard junior campaign in 2014, where he averaged 169.7 yards per game on 7.5 yards per attempt while scoring 15 touchdowns.

Coleman spent four seasons in Atlanta. His breakout season came under Kyle Shanahan in 2016. Coleman had 962 yards from scrimmage (520 rushing, 442 receiving) and 11 total touchdowns. 2016 solidified him as a bonafide two-way threat. When Coleman became a free agent, Shanahan jumped at the chance to bring him back to his offense. The 49ers signed him to a 2-year deal in 2019. Although his first tenure in San Francisco did not go particularly well, Shanahan again jumped at the chance to bring him back into the fold after injuries to Elijah Mitchell and Tyrion Davis-Price.

Coleman is the type of running back Shanahan covets. Fast and quick to react, Coleman has played for Shanahan-like systems since joining the league. Clocked at a 4.4-second 40-yard dash at the 2015 NFL combine, Coleman brings speed to a running back room that does not have burners. Wilson is known for his tough-nosed running between the tackles that soften up a defense, allowing Coleman to come in and run outside zone, the staple of the Shanahan system, to give the defense another threat to take into account.

49ers vs Panthers: Tevin Coleman’s Best Plays

Tevin Coleman was a two-way threat on Sunday. In the running game, Coleman had eight rushes for 23 yards. On the surface, that does not look good. However, he scored a touchdown late in the game on a pitch to the left. Coleman took the pitch after a stumble by Jimmy Garoppolo and raced to the outside near the pylon to score and make it 37-15 late in the fourth quarter.

Another Tevin Coleman TD. What a return for @Teco_Raww 📈 📺: #SFvsCAR on CBS 📱: Stream on NFL+ — NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022

When Shanahan wants to run stretch, outside pitch plays, for the most part, it was Deebo Samuel. It was out of necessity. They had no one else who could run the play effectively. The issue was teams were prepared for it and were figuring out how to stop it. Now, with Tevin Coleman in the fold, it allows the 49ers to do two things. One, the 49ers do not have to risk injury to Deebo and two, can use an actual full-time running back to run the play.

Coleman’s best plays, however, came from the passing game. On the first drive of the game for San Francisco, the 49ers ran a screen pass to Coleman that went in for a nine-yard touchdown to cap off a 75-yard drive to give the 49ers a quick and early 7-0 lead.

#49ers Tevin Coleman caps off an impressive 75 yard drive with a TD ‼️ — OurSF49ers (@OurSf49ers) October 9, 2022

Later in the first half, Coleman had the play of the day. On a third and four from the 49ers’ 37-yard line, Garoppolo took a shotgun snap and looked deep down the field to Coleman against a corner. Coleman rose and plucked the ball away from the defender for an incredible catch and gain of 30-yards. It was one of the best plays of the season for the 49ers’ offense.

Tevin Coleman looking like a WR out there 😮 📺: #SFvsCAR on CBS 📱: Stream on NFL+ — NFL (@NFL) October 9, 2022

On the day, Coleman had three catches for 44 yards and one touchdown. Overall, he had 73 total yards and two touchdowns and added lightning to Jeff Wilson Jr.’s thunder.

49ers: Tevin Coleman’s Grade for Week Five

With Coleman’s help, the 49ers’ offense played their best game of the season on Sunday. Scoring 30 points itself, with seven coming from an interception returned for a touchdown. The 49ers will be virtually unbeatable week in and week out, with the offense performing at the level it did on Sunday.

Overall, Tevin Coleman deserves an A grade for his performance in Week Five. The 49ers are interested to see if he can keep it up and prove this was not a one-time thing. If he can repeat this performance next week, the 49ers will have found another key contributor for cheap.



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