In what was a bad game overall for the San Francisco 49ers, one of the few bright spots in Sunday’s Week 3 loss was the fact that after two games of not being able to establish their running attack, the 49ers had 87 yards rushing after the first quarter of play and looked poised for a big game.
Yet, that was not to be the case as the 49ers seemed to abandon the rushing attack, instead trying to establish an unproductive passing attack as the 49ers’ wide receivers were unable to get separation from the Indianapolis Colts‘ cornerbacks. This led to Frank Gore exchanging words with head coach Jim Harbaugh out of frustration over the lack of running plays after the first quarter.
Over Harbaugh’s first two seasons with San Francisco, the 49ers have been known as being a physical running team who is able to run the football. In the first two games of the season, the 49ers clearly did not run the ball up to their ability and in the game against the Colts, abandoning the run as soon as they did made little sense given the success they were having.
Against the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night, the 49ers must establish the rushing attack and not abandon it. They are facing a Rams defense that allowed the Dallas Cowboys to gain 193 yards on the ground with DeMarco Murray rushing for 175 of those yards. While the Rams are said to have one of the most physical front sevens on defense in all the NFL, they were clearly dominated at the point of attack in Week 3.
This presents the 49ers with the opportunity to commit to the run for an entire game and not just for one quarter of play.
Part of the issue for the 49ers in their two losses so far this season is that they do not appear to be the same team whom fans got accustomed to seeing over the last two seasons. To put it simply, the 49ers are lacking an identity and appear to have forgotten what and who they are as a football team.
In order to end this losing streak and get back to winning ways, the 49ers need to reestablish their identity, and one way of going about it is reestablishing and staying committed to running the football.