San Francisco’s quest for an elusive sixth Lombardi Trophy took a hit on Monday with the announcement that All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga will miss the rest of the season.
Driving the news: Hufanga tore his ACL during the 49ers 27-13 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
- Following the game, Head Coach Kyle Shanahan feared that Hufanga, who had to be carted off the field, had torn a ligament.
- Shanahan confirmed his fears on Monday, announcing that Hufanga will be unable to play the rest of the season, although the tear was a clean one, not damaging the meniscus.
Why it matters: Hufanga turned into a leader on San Francisco’s defense last year, his first full-year as a starter.
- He was second on the team with 4 interceptions last year, a season in which he was honored as a first-team All-Pro.
- Hufanga was off to another great season this year, snagging three interceptions already in 10 games before his injury.
What we’re watching: Rookie safety Ji’Ayir Brown will be tasked with filling in for Hufanga as the 49ers continue their hunt for the Super Bowl.
- Brown, who was drafted out of Penn State in the third round this year, picked off Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield shortly after Hufanga exited the game, making an early impact as he was tested.
What they’re saying: “I thought he started out well,” Shanahan said of Hufanga. “I thought he hit a little lull during our skid and I thought he played one of his best games versus Jacksonville, and I thought the same thing was going to happen here, but I thought he was going to end up having a real good year.”