49ers Gunning for Big Second Half

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Courage Under Fire

Oct 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback

Peyton Manning

(18) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers linebacker

Aaron Lynch

(59) in the first quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

When you’re missing half your defensive starters, younger and greener talent takes the field earlier than anticipated.

Aaron Lynch, Carlos Hyde, Bruce Ellington and Jimmie Ward are all major pieces on this roster, but can’t even rent a car. Without their contributions through the first seven games, a 4-3 record is impossible.

These players are learning on the fly instead of from the sideline. While it can stunt growth – as it did for Ward – it offers valuable experience for the future. No coach wants to rely on a rookie in tense playoff action, but if you must, it’s better if they are battle-tested.

These players will mold the future for the Red and Gold. Good for us, the learning process has already begun.