CINCINNATI -- Safety Donte Whitner left the game in the first quarter with a hip contusion. Running back Frank Gore sustained a right ankle sprain in the second quarter but remained in the game without much success.The 49ers got key contributions Sunday from their backups -- Reggie Smith and Kendall Hunter -- in the team's 13-8 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.It was another rough game for Gore, who gained just 42 yards on 17 carries. His fourth-quarter fumble led to the Bengals kicking a field goal for a 6-3 lead.Hunter, however, replaced Gore for most of the next drive and scored the game's only touchdown on a 7-yard run. Hunter finished with 26 yards on nine carries.
Gore played all but three of the 49ers' first-half offensive plays but saw considerable action on the sideline in the second half with Hunter getting the most action thus far of his rookie season. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Gore was removed because of the injury."I kind of tweaked and I couldn't go the way I wanted to," Gore said. "Yeah, I couldn't be myself. Some of the runs, I couldn't make the cut I wanted to make. Hopefully, I get better this week."When asked if he'd be able to play next week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Gore answered, "I can't tell until tomorrow. See how I'm feeling."Whitner sustained his hip injury when he landed hard while going for a third-down pass on the first drive of the game. He did not return to action."It's just a minor injury that a lot of guys get in this league. I expect to be back next week," Whitner said.When asked if there was a thought about returning to the game, Whitner said, "There was until I couldn't handle the pain. But I'll be ready. It's not that serious."With Whitner on the sideline, Reggie Smith entered at safety in nickel situations. His diving interception with 1:45 remaining all but clinched the 49ers' victory.
The 49ers entered the regular season feeling as confident in quarterback Brian Hoyer as anyone on the offensive side of the ball.
But Hoyer has struggled through the worst back-to-back games of his 33-start NFL career. And the 49ers need him to get going, beginning Thursday night against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Kyle Shanahan said.
"I want him to get his edge back. I want him to get his confidence,” Shanahan said Wednesday on the KNBR Morning Show.
“We need Brian to step up, and we need everyone around him to step up.”
In the first two games of the season, Hoyer has completed 62.9 percent of his 62 pass attempts but for just 292 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. His passer rating is a lowly 60.7.
The 49ers have scored only four field goals and no touchdowns on their 21 offensive possessions in losses to Carolina and Seattle. Moreover, the 49ers have converted just four of 23 (17.4 percent) of their third-down attempts.
The quick turnaround on Thursday at Levi’s Stadium is something Hoyer said he welcomes this week -- of all weeks.
Last season with the Chicago Bears, Hoyer did not throw for fewer than 300 yards in any of his four full games. On Sunday in the 49ers’ 12-9 loss to the Seahawks, he managed just 99 yards passing.
“It was a tough game and now we move on,” Hoyer said. “Thankfully, this week we get to move on really quick and move on to LA.
”You get to put the last one behind you and move on to the next.”
A pair of former Bay Area footballers are headed to Kansas City.
The Chiefs have reportedly signed former 49ers cornerback Keith Reaser and former Raiders running back George Atkinson to their practice squad.
News of the deals was first reported by ESPN.
Reaser was waived by the 49ers on Saturday to make room for cornerback Asa Jackson to be promoted to the active roster in time for Sunday's game in Seattle. Reaser was a fifth-round pick in 2014. After missing his entire rookie as he recovered from ACL surgery, Reaser played in 28 games over the past two seasons. He did not appear on defense in the 49ers’ season-opening loss to Carolina last week, but he appeared on 10 snaps of special teams.
Atkinson has been a familiar face around the Raiders. He was claimed off waivers from the Browns on July 29, but waived on Sept. 2.