Veteran linebacker NaVorro Bowman doesn’t like to come off the field. Neither does running back Carlos Hyde.
Each takes pride in being a consistent, tough competitor for the 49ers.
Yet in Sunday’s 26-23 overtime loss to the Colts in Indianapolis, Bowman and Hyde often found themselves watching the action instead of being in the middle of it.
Against the Colts, Bowman played 58 snaps while Ray-Ray Armstrong and Brock Coyle often took his place at middle or inside linebacker.
“We had a conversation and, uh, I don’t know – they’re doing what they want to and, I don’t know,” Bowman told Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “I don’t like it. No one likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player.”
Even while being held out of some series, Bowman still played well, leading his team in tackles with 10.
As Barrows points out, the 49ers likely were trying to protect Bowman for the long haul. Bowman played a season-high 83 snaps in a loss to Arizona last week.
Wrote Barrows: “(Bowman) didn’t play well following an 82-snap game against Seattle earlier this season … and the 49ers coaches are intent on keeping him fresh. After all, they’re in the midst of a three-game span of road trips” that includes a trip to Washington, D.C., this coming weekend.
Hyde, too, took a backseat in the backfield. Undrafted rookie Matt Breida played 35 snaps to Hyde’s 33. Breida had 10 carries for 49 yards while Hyde had eight for 11 yards.
After the game, Hyde said he was healthy. He wasn’t taken out for injury reasons.
“That was just the coach’s call,” he said. “I don’t like it, but my boy, Matt, he’s a good back. So he did a good job going in there and making plays.”
Head coach Kyle Shanahan told Barrows that Breida got more snaps because he had the “hot hand.”
The 49ers, now 0-5, will take on 2-2 Washington this Sunday. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.