Fresh off of the bye week, the San Francisco 49ers are preparing for a primetime Sunday night showdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 10. On the eve of Sunday’s matchup, the team received good news about a key contributor to their offense. According to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, running back Elijah Mitchell has been activated off of injured reserve, bolstering the 49ers backfield.
Mitchell has not played since Week 1 against the Chicago Bears after sustaining a sprained MCL injury. Effective as a rookie in 2021, Mitchell posted 963 yards rushing and five touchdowns in 11 games played last season, according to Pro Football Reference. While his return is doubtful to supplant Christian McCaffrey, the 49ers’ massive mid-season trade acquisition, as the starter, Mitchell will provide critical depth for the Jimmy Garoppolo-led offense and create a forceful one-two punch.
The 49ers sit dead, even with a record of 4-4 in second place in the NFC West division. However, with a win on Sunday, the 49ers could play catch-up to the 6-3 Seattle Seahawks in front of them in the standings and build one step closer to a potential playoff berth. Given the quality of their matchup against the Charges, the odds may be in their favor.
According to Pro Football Reference, the Chargers’ defense has allowed the eight-most rushing yards (1164) to opposing offense in the 2022 NFL season. With a healthy Mitchell and McCaffrey, this Niners backfield will be difficult for the 5-3 Chargers to slow down. But will the return of Elijah Mitchell be enough to get the 49ers over the hump?