After an impressive offensive display from the San Francisco 49ers in their 34-28 Week 1 win over the Green Bay Packers, what might have caught the eye of many watching was the fact that for his standards, Frank Gore had a tough day rushing the ball. While Gore did score the go ahead score for the 49ers in the fourth quarter, he found running the ball a difficult task against a Packers front seven who clearly was geared up to stop him from going off on Sunday afternoon.
Gore finished the game with 21 carries for 44 yards and one touchdown in a game where his longest run was for eight yards. Such a performance might alarm a number of people given that last season in the two games against the Packers, Gore rushed for a combined 231 yards and two touchdowns. That said, Sunday’s performance by Gore or from the 49ers’ rushing attack as a whole was not impressive, but it should not ring any alarm bells at all one week into the season.
For starters, the Packers made it clear that they were not going to allow the 49ers to run the ball on them like they did in both their encounters last season. It was clear that the Packers geared up and focused a lot of their energy and defensive scheme on stopping the run. Having three down lineman in the form of BJ Raji, Ryan Pickett, and Johnathan Jolly, the Packers did a good job of gaining an inside rush at the line of scrimmage during the game. Combine this with improved tackling from their linebackers and it allowed the Packers to hold Gore down and the 49ers as a team to 90 yards rushing.
All that said, Gore had no troubles picking up and running at times for key yardage in the fourth quarter. On the go ahead touchdown drive, Gore had two big carries. On first-and-goal from the Packers’ nine-yard line, Gore had an eight-yard carry and then scored the go ahead touchdown on the next carry. Then on the 49ers’ final offensive drive, Gore carried it on the first three downs on the sequence which saw the 49ers convert a fourth-and-two on a pass from Colin Kaepernick to Anquan Boldin which allowed the drive to continue and lead to an insurance field goal make from Phil Dawson.
While Frank Gore might not have had a spectacular day or one many fantasy football owners were hoping for, the fact of the matter remains that he still came through and was productive when his team needed him the most in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, the man nicknamed “The Truth” showed that when most needed, he was still very productive for the 49ers. There is no need to panic about him just yet.