Receiver Quinton Patton, who was slowed during training camp with a broken finger, will miss a chunk of the season with a broken foot, Jim Harbaugh said today. Patton, who seemed to be filling the role of No. 2 receiver Thursday, suffered the injury in the first half shortly after making his first-ever NFL reception. It went for no gain.
Harbaugh said the injury - to a metacarpal bone - was not significant enough to put Patton on injured reserve, meaning the rookie is expected to play again this season. Patton made an immediate impact in the preseason once his finger healed. He caught six passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, one of them a 43 yarder.
Harbaugh said he was comfortable with the remaining receivers on the roster, and had particularly strong praise for Jon Baldwin, who made his 49ers debut against the Rams with two catches for 19 yards. "He's got a competitive heart," Harbaugh said.
Asked what he meant, Harbaugh said he couldn't articulate it but that it was a sense he had about Baldwin, whom the 49ers acquired in a trade with Kansas City last month. He said his sense was similar to how a birdwatcher can identify a specific species by its "gist". "I feel like sometimes I have an eye for a competitive heart," Harbaugh said. "I see it in Jon."
After Patton left the game, Kyle Williams resumed his previous role as the No. 2 receiver, playing 22 of the team's 69 snaps. Williams did not have a catch. Baldwin was next among wideouts with 16 snaps. Marlon Moore, a starter in the preseason, was inactive Thursday.
Pass catcher snap count
WR Anquan Boldin: 54; 78%
TE Vance McDonald 49; 71%
TE Vernon Davis 49; 71%
WR Kyle Williams 22; 32%
WR Jon Baldwin 16; 23%
TE Garrett Celek 15; 22%
WR Kassim Osgood 13;19%
WR Quinton Patton 7; 10%
As for Joe Staley, who went down with 1:50 remaining in the game, Harbaugh reiterated that the 49ers appear to have "dodged a bullet." That is, Staley is sore but not seriously injured.
-- Matt Barrows