What losing Iupati would mean

NEW ORLEANS -- The San Francisco 49ers’ offense doesn’t need any more challenges right about now.

Yet, it may be dealt one. The team is awaiting word on the severity of a left knee injury suffered by standout guard Mike Iupati. He was carted off to the locker room during the 49ers’ 23-20 loss at New Orleans on Sunday. He was seen leaving the locker room on crutches and with his knee in a brace.

During the game, Iupati was replaced by Adam Snyder, who will play if Iupati has to miss significant time.

No doubt, the 49ers’ offense is struggling. It has not been able to cross the 200-total yard plateau in two straight games, and it had five three-and-outs Sunday.

I asked ESPN analyst Matt Williamson how damaging he thinks the loss of Iupati would be.

“I wouldn’t say it is one of the worst offensive lines in the league or anything,” Williamson said. “But this offense doesn’t have much room for error and if the run blocking falters, they could be in further trouble.”

The 49ers' offensive line has been strong in run blocking this season, but has struggled some, particularly in the past couple of weeks, in pass protection. Williamson said Iupati hasn’t been up to his usual high standards. Still, if he has to miss major time, the 49ers will likely feel it.