49ers Suffer Big Loss To Defense, Hufanga Likely Out For Season

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The San Francisco 49ers appear to have returned to their winning ways lately. After limping through a three game losing streak following a 5-0 start, the team has now won back-to-back games in dominating fashion. With the Seahawks loss, they are alone atop the standings in the NFC West heading into Thanksgiving weekend, but they may be getting some unfortunate news on the injury front come Monday.

49ers Fear Hufanga Has Serious ACL Injury

With the 49ers leading 20-7 with 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga squared up to make a tackle on Buccaneers running back Rachaad White. White juked to the right, and left Hufanga crumbling to the ground, as his right knee appeared to buckle. He made it to the blue medical tent under his own power, but was quickly ruled out of the rest of the game.

San Francisco went on to win by 13 points, but the mood regarding the injury to their starting safety was not a happy one. According to head coach Kyle Shanahan, it is “most likely” an ACL injury, but added that he couldn’t confirm and will find out later.

Rookie Ji’Ayir Brown Replaced The All Pro On Sunday

It would be a tough blow to a defense that relies heavily on the talented Hufanga to lead their secondary. The 49ers have one of the top defenses in the league, but the one area that could use improvement is the defensive backfield, of which Hufanga is the best of the bunch. He has the 4th-most tackles on the team so far this year, and has the lead in interceptions with 3.

Who would start in his place if Hufanga is in fact out for the year? Ji’Ayir Brown was the player that came in and replaced him during Sunday’s action, but it is unclear if he will be moved into the starting spot for good. Brown is a rookie 3rd round pick out of Penn State and played in just 30 snaps so far this season (5%) and had 4 total tackles.

It will be a quick turnaround for whoever steps in and fills the All-Pro’s shoes. The 49ers will play on Thanksgiving night, and will take on the division rival Seahawks with hopes of keeping their place at the top of the NFC West.

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