Raheem Mostert turned in one of the best playoff performances in NFL history to get his team to the Super Bowl, but the San Francisco 49ers running back may find himself on the bench when the big game actually starts.
As the New York Post reported, Mostert has not gotten a commitment from the Niners to be in the starting lineup against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. This comes after Mostert set postseason records for yards with 220 and touchdowns with four in pushing San Francisco past the Green Bay Packers and into the title game.
Despite the record-shattering performance, Mostert said he isn’t sure if he will be the starting back on Sunday.
“I’m not sure,” Mostert said. “You never know, there might be a different game plan.”
While the NFC Championship game performance would seem to warrant a start, it would not be unusual for him to start on the bench given San Francisco’s offensive approach this season. The 49ers have employed a running back by committee, with Mostert splitting carries almost equally with Tevin Coleman and Matt Brieda. Mostert and Coleman each had 137 carries this season, with Breida just behind at 123. Running back Jeff Wilson also had 26 carries.
“They may feel Tevin or Matt or Jeff is better throughout the week than I am,” Mostert said.
“A lot of different variables. No matter what, I’m going to be ready.”
The New York Post noted that Mostert hasn’t actually gotten a start this postseason, with Breida coming in first in the divisional round against the Minnesota Vikings and Coleman getting the start against the Packers. But the team splits time so equally between the three that who comes in first rarely matters in terms of playing time and touches.
As the Star-Tribune noted, Mostert’s ascension from a special teams player on the fringes of the NFL to playoff hero may change the entire NFL landscape. He was cut six times in a span of 15 months before finding a home in San Francisco and is now just the 23rd highest-paid running back in the league with a three-year, $8.7 million deal. The report noted that the 49ers have shown that a team doesn’t need a high-paid running back, but instead a strong scheme and an offensive line and tight ends who can open up holes. That could mean a more difficult time for top-tier running backs looking for the next contract, the report noted.