One common trait that the San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans share is that the foundations of their offense rely on being able to run the football and winning the line of scrimmage battle with their offensive lines. In their Week 7 game on Sunday, the 49ers visit the Titans in a game where it is clear that both teams will be looking to establish the run and win the battle at the line of scrimmage.
For the 49ers, their running game and its success has been one of, if not the main reason why they are currently on a three-game winning streak. During the two-game losing streak that the 49ers were on prior, they only rushed for a total of 215 yards. While this would suffice for many teams, it signaled a clear lack of focus of sticking with the run for the 49ers as many of the yards gained came during “garbage” time.
In the three-game winning streak, the 49ers have gotten back to being a tough, physical running offense as they have averaged close to 182 yards.
This has meant that Frank Gore has also been able to show why he is one of the best running backs in the league. During the three-game streak, Gore has rushed for 417 yards and is averaging 5.7 yards per carry. It is clear that the 49ers have their formula and have gotten back to respecting their identity as an offense.
The Titans are a team under head coach Mike Munchak who make it an emphasis to run the football and establish the run. The Titans certainly have a very good running back in Chris Johnson whom they can rely on; yet as the statistics suggest, the Titans have struggled to run the football at times.
In the last three games, Johnson has only been able to rush for 71 yards on 37 carries after having averaged 85.3 yards rushing per game in the first three games of the season. It has been no coincidence that Johnson has struggled as these are the games that Ryan Fitzpatrick has played at quarterback, and to put it kindly, Fitzpatrick is an average NFL quarterback at best.
The game plan for the 49ers-Titans Week 7 game is clear: whichever team is best able to establish the run will certainly win the game. Given their recent play, all signs are pointing to the 49ers winning. But as they say, on any given Sunday, anything can happen.