Having already lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and No. 1 running back Jerick McKinnon to season-ending injuries, the 49ers received a boost with the return of Marquise Goodwin to the lineup in Monday night’s loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Goodwin suffered a quadriceps injury early in the season opener at Minnesota and appeared in parts of two games prior to Monday night, posting just five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown.
Those were not the type of numbers San Francisco was expecting from the sixth-year wideout, who had a breakout season in his first year with the 49ers in 2017.
Goodwin set career highs with 56 receptions for 962 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns. He averaged 17.2 yards per catch and formed a bond with Garoppolo during a season-ending five-game winning streak, hauling in 29 catches and notching back-to-back 100-yard games in that span.
A third-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2013 NFL Draft, Goodwin showed what a dynamic presence he provides in the 33-30 loss to the Packers.
After sitting out a Week 5 loss to previously winless Arizona due to hamstring and quad injuries, Goodwin had four receptions for 126 yards and a pair of touchdowns versus Green Bay. That included a 67-yard scoring strike from quarterback C.J. Beathard.
“Guys are respecting (Goodwin’s) speed,” Beathard said. “You’ve got to respect his speed. He can take the tops off of coverages, so it definitely helps having him out there.”
The 49ers desperately need the big-play element Goodwin brings to the offense, particularly entering Sunday’s matchup against the explosive Los Angeles Rams, the only undefeated team in the league.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said Goodwin’s return was “huge” for the offense and noted that his impact is undeniable.
“I think you guys saw that for your guys’ selves,” Shanahan told reporters. “We’d been missing ‘Quise a lot. He’s been battling to get back. That was the first game the true ‘Quise was back.”
Aside from the season-ending injuries to Garoppolo and McKinnon, eight of San Francisco’s 11 offensive starters were on the injury report prior to last week’s game. Shanahan said Goodwin’s presence has a ripple effect on the rest of the offense.
“You always want your starter out there, but also the speed element that Quite brings to the game is very crucial to him getting points and if not, loosens stuff up for other people,” said Shanahan.