Jeff Wilson Jr. and Kyle Shanahan know just how to beat the Arizona Cardinals.
Or at least it looked that simple as Wilson, the 49ers’ starting running back Saturday in place of Raheem Mostert, beat the Cardinals defense on a familiar route to give San Francisco an early lead in Saturday’s NFC West showdown.
Wilson set up to the left of quarterback C.J. Beathard in the shotgun, ran just outside left tackle Trent Williams, then broke back inside as Beathard hit him in stride ten yards downfield. He took it the rest of the way for a touchdown.
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2020
Wilson scored on a shockingly similar play last year to seal a win over the Cardinals. It was his only offensive play of the day, coming with less than a minute left in the game.
In 2019, he was met near the line of scrimmage by defensive end Chandler Jones, who he shook and beat easily to the inside. Jimmy Garoppolo hit him five yards past the line of scrimmage, and Wilson scampered into the end zone to give the 49ers the lead and prevent an upset.
So now it’s clear: The Cardinals should look out for Wilson on an angle route out of the shotgun inside their 30-yard-line.
Except he’s also not the only 49ers running back who’s recently beaten them with the route. Raheem Mostert took a similar look for a 76-yard touchdown early in this year’s season-opening loss.
That was before the 49ers’ season became doomed by injuries — including to Mostert, the man who carried the load for the 49ers’ run-heavy path to a Super Bowl appearance last season.
In Mostert’s stead, Wilson has done his part — he now leads the 49ers with eight total touchdowns this season (six rushing, two receiving).