Seahawks vs. 49ers: Frank Gore and the 49ers Run Game Find Their Groove on TNF
Thirteen points to six—that seems about right.
Going into Thursday night's game, everyone knew it would be a dog fight. However, I would have never guessed that both the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers would go for over 125 yards on the ground. The Seahawks finished with an impressive 136 yards, but the 49ers one-upped them to the tune of 175 yards.
Frank Gore led the way for Greg Roman's offense. He showed patience, vision and explosion on inside run plays. Time after time, Roman dialed up the inside zone and wham plays, and time after time, they worked to perfection.
By game's end, Gore finished with 131 yards on 16 carries. His average of 8.2 yards per carry was his highest average since Week 6 of the 2011 season. On that day, the 49ers rode Gore to a 25-19 win over the Detroit Lions. Thursday marked the third time in two years that he eclipsed the 8.0 yards-per-carry mark.
Yet his incredible performance wasn't limited to the run game. He made his presence felt catching the ball out of the backfield as well. After Jim Harbaugh's team came out of the locker room at halftime, it appeared as if his squad was totally different.
During the first half, quarterback Alex Smith continuously tried to force the ball down the field, but nothing seemed to happen because of the tight coverage in the secondary.
So what did San Francisco do? It told Smith to check the ball down if nothing was open in the middle of the field.
And check the ball down he did.
Gore answered the call and caught five balls for 51 tough yards. His five catches were a team high, as were the 51 yards.
Unfortunately, No. 21 left the game early with what he's since said are bruised ribs (per CSNBayArea.com's Matt Maiocco via Twitter). There has been no official word as of yet from the team, but it appears he will be OK.
In his absence, Kendall Hunter played the role of closer. Even though Hunter didn't put up eye-popping numbers like Gore, his play spoke for itself. He had one really nice 10-yard run and caught both of his targets.
His final stat line was nine carries for 31 yards and two catches for 14 yards. On a night in which the 49ers scrapped for every yard possible, his 45 yards of total offense didn't go unappreciated.
But the biggest stat of the night was the pass-to-run ratio.
By game's end, San Francisco had called 32 run plays and 23 pass plays. Above all, the 49ers absolutely dominated the time of possession—31:01 for the Niners and 27:59 for the 'Hawks.
Running the football has always been the key to success for Coach Harbaugh's club. It was good to see the team get back to its roots on Thursday night.
The victory moves the 49ers to 5-2 and the top the NFC West, at least for three more days.
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