Niners look to stay unbeaten vs. shorthanded Steelers

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By Jeremy Harness

The 49ers are in a position that they have not been in since their Super Bowl year of 2012, as they are 2-0 and have a great chance to extend that win streak as they get ready to take on their rivals in the NFC West.

And they’ll have a reeling, hurting Pittsburgh Steelers team traveling across the country to face them at Levi’s Stadium Sunday.

However, just a note here: Pittsburgh has ended a 49ers winning streak before. The Niners won their first six games of the 1984 season until the Steelers pulled off a 20-17 upset win at Candlestick Park.

The 49ers did not lose another game that year, which culminated with the second Super Bowl victory in franchise history, a 38-16 win over the Miami Dolphins.

However, they do have some injury concerns going into Sunday.

Defensive end Dee Ford is listed as day-to-day with a quad injury, and he did not practice Wednesday. Among the others who were sidelined for Wednesday’s practice were receivers Trent Taylor (foot) and Jalen Hurd (back), starting back Tevin Coleman and safety Jaquiski Tartt (toe), who is listed as day-to-day but is expected to play against the Steelers.

Tackle Joe Staley suffered a broken tibia during Sunday’s game, and he is expected to be out for several weeks.

However serious the 49ers’ injury situation currently is, it pales in comparison to what’s going on in Pittsburgh. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger injured his elbow in Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks and has been forced to have season-ending surgery on his throwing elbow.

Mason Rudolph took over for Roethlisberger following the injury, and he is expected to be under center Sunday. The Steelers selected Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft and was the third quarterback that season before being elevated to the backup job before the start of this season.

Meanwhile, cornerback Joe Haden, whom the Steelers recently signed to a multi-year extension, did not practice Wednesday as he recovers from a shoulder ailment. Meanwhile, former 49ers tight end Vance McDonald was limited in practice Wednesday with a back injury.

Starting running back James Conner was held out of practice Wednesday while nursing a knee injury, but the team fully expects him, as well as Haden, to start against the 49ers.

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