The San Francisco 49ers are standing on the edge of an abyss and, after injuries to their top running backs, Jarryd Hayne could be their saviour.
The rookie Australian’s inexperience could also sink them.
We’ll know the outcome on Sunday (Monday AEDT).
That’s when the five-time Super Bowl-winning NFL team goes head-to-head with another once elite but now major disappointment, the Baltimore Ravens.
Just two years ago the 49ers and Ravens fought one of the great Super Bowls, with the east coast team hanging on for a 34-31 victory.
Today both teams stink.
They’ve lost four games and had one victory, records their proud fans can’t stomach.
The 49ers will literally limp into the game with running backs Carlos Hyde and Reggie Bush suffering foot and calf injuries respectively.
Hyde is officially listed as “questionable” for the game while Bush is a longer shot at playing after being tagged “doubtful”.
Kick returner and wide-receiver Bruce Ellington also has a leg injury.
Coach Jim Tomsula put on an optimistic face on Friday about Hyde and Bush after reports had Hyde limping off the field shortly into Thursday’s practice.
“Fully expect him to play,” said Tomsula, discussing Hyde, who has been the 49ers’ standout player but suffered a weekly beating trying to carry his faltering team.
Tomsula added the team’s trainers continue to work with Bush.
That leaves rookies Hayne and Mike Davis as the only 49ers’ running backs.
The 49ers like Hayne as a punt returner but have shown little confidence in him as a running back, only bringing the former NRL star on a few times in the regular season when they needed to rest their banged up top options.
On Friday Tomsula continued the cautious theme on Hayne, who just a few months ago had never played an NFL game.
“I mean, it’s a guy that’s never played football,” Tomsula said.
The Ravens, knowing the 49ers’ running back depth is thin, will undoubtedly attempt to batter Hyde out of the game.
If successful, it’ll be rookies Hayne and Davis who will be left to pull them from the abyss of the 49ers’ fifth loss in six games and any hope of making the play-offs.