Gore OK with new-look offense

After getting just six touches in Sunday's loss while the 49ers featured a new-look spread offense, Frank Gore said Wednesday his disappointment following the game stemmed from the team's loss, not his lack of carrier.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The San Francisco 49ers are 11-0 when Frank Gore reaches 100 yards since Greg Roman became offensive coordinator in 2011. They are also 15-2-1 when Gore gets 20 or more carries.

It's no wonder, then, much of the discussion surrounding the offense's lack of scoring in Sunday's 23-14 loss has revolved around the team's new offensive wrinkle.


The 49ers employed five-receiver sets for the first time since Roman took over, largely due to the absences of their top two tight ends Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald against Arizona's stout run defense that was the best in the NFL in 2013.

For Gore, the game plan meant he would receive just six touches, netting a paltry 10 yards. After the loss, clearly frustrated, the running back that's rushed for 1,000 yards in seven of his nine seasons, cut off his interview session with reporters quickly.

Wednesday, Gore said it wasn't his lack of carries that caused his despondency Sunday. It was the loss.

"If we would have got the win, I’m happy," he said.

During the team's three-year run of success under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have been in the top five in rushing attempts per game on the strength of the offensive line and Gore's stability. Sunday's attack caught the Cardinals by surprise initially, but Arizona defensive coordinator Todd Bowles found success with delayed interior blitzes that prevented San Francisco from coming back after allowing 14 unanswered points in the third quarter.

"I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win," Gore said. "If we have to go out there and do the spread again, I’m with it. That’s the type of player I am. I just want to win."

In the offseason, the 49ers made it a point of emphasis to prevent teams from stacking the box with eight or nine players by creating a more balanced passing attack. No team faced more loaded fronts than San Francisco. In turn the team acquired wideouts Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd to compliment Davis, Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin in an attempt to keep defenses honest. San Francisco had the third-worst passing attack last season, averaging 185.7 yards per game while Crabtree missed 11 games recovering from an Achilles tear.

Sunday's approach was at the furthest end of that spectrum with Colin Kaepernick getting more carries (13) than Gore and backup Carlos Hyde combined.

Kaepernick Sunday had career highs in both completions (29) and completion percentage (78.38), completing 25 of 26 throws to his top-three receivers, including nine to newcomer Stevie Johnson, who had 103 yards.

But that could change Sunday against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles, with Vernon Davis feeling optimistic about a return and right tackle Anthony Davis playing for the first time this season after sustaining a hamstring injury late in the preseason.

"Frank’s not someone that needs his spirits to be kept up," Kaepernick said. "I always talk to him regardless of what’s going on, but he’s going to come and give his best effort every week and he’s shown that."

Gore broke the news about his tackle when asked about his struggling offensive line that's been forced to play Jonathan Martin on the right side in Davis' absence.

"I think (Martin) did a good job," said Gore. "...It’s good that he did get an opportunity to play. Now we got Anthony Davis back so now we know that if something happens up front again, we know that he could step in."

The Eagles opponents have averaged over 100 rushing per games through the season's first three weeks, which could lead to another dramatic shift in Roman's game plan as the 49ers look to avoid losing three-straight games for the first time since 2010.


E-mail Niners Digest: NinersDigest@gmail.com

Follow Editor in Chief Chris Biderman on Twitter.

Get updates from NinersDigest by following here and become a subscriber to receive access to premium content and analysis.

Niners Digest Top Stories