Gore's call to coach can't wait

A few hours after last week's game against St. Louis, 49ers running back Frank Gore called coach Mike Nolan to discuss the recently completed contest with him. "Like last week, he called me this week after the game to tell me how excited he was," Nolan said. Gore said he was eager to get some feedback on how he played and what he can do to get better and it could not wait until the next morning.

"I was thinking about my mistakes and asking him what he saw," Gore said. "And he told me he understands that I'm the type of runner always working for the extra yard. I got to be smarter and always remember there's another down."

Gore had another productive day for the 49ers in their 20-13 victory over the Rams, but he also fumbled for the second consecutive game. Gore fumbled on the first play of the second quarter at the St. Louis 2-yard line just as it appeared the Niners were going in for a touchdown that would give them a 10-0 lead.

But Gore made amends for his mistake with a 32-yard touchdown run early in the second half. Then, when the 49ers took over with 3:38 remaining in the game and protecting a seven-point lead, the 49ers gave the ball to Gore on six consecutive run plays to drain the clock.

Gore got the tough yard needed on the key play of that sequence, a third-and-1 at the San Francisco 22 with 2:47 still remaining in the game. St. Louis was forced to use its second timeout after that play, and then Gore ripped of a four-yard gain and a 10-yarder for another first down on the next two plays to break the Rams.

"I wanted that, especially after the big fumble," Gore said. "I had to let them know they can trust me when I get the ball in my hands, especially at another critical time like that."

In the first two games of the season, Gore has carried 45 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns. He has also caught eight passes for 93 yards. He ranks fourth among the NFL's leading rushers and is third in the NFC. He leads the NFC and is second in the NFL with 307 yards from scrimmage.

"We shoot for about 25 touches for Frank," Nolan said. "I think that's realistic, and that's something we'd like to have happen. But you have to go a little bit above some weeks or a little bit below some weeks to get a victory, that's what you do. When we figured his durability and what he can take, it's about 25 touches a game, whether it's a pass or a run. That's what we're working off of. We'll see where it goes from here."

Gore said he is ready for as big of a workload as Nolan is ready to give him.

"Every back wants to get more comfortable and be to able to feel the defense out," Gore said. "That's what kind of back I am. The more I touch it, the better I get."

The fumbles are something that does not seem to concern Nolan too much. He said he does not want Gore to change his style. Gore is a hard runner who is always battling for extra yards.

"You certainly don't tell a guy not to for second effort because that's what makes Frank who he is," Nolan said. "That's why he's such an exciting runner. That's how he scored a lot of touchdowns. He's got great balance. You don't try to change them when you've got a good one."

PLAYER NOTES
--- QB Alex Smith has completed only 54.8 percent of his passes, but he is throwing more balls down the field and taking more chances. Despite the lower-percentage passes, he is averaging 8.4 yards per attempt and has been sacked just once in 63 dropbacks. Smith is 10th in the NFL's quarterback ranking this week with a season passer rating of 93.5 He‘s the only QB in the top 10 who has completed less than 60 percent of his passes.
--- FB Chris Hetherington saw action on a little more than half of the offensive plays as the team's lead blocker. He has not carried the ball, and he has caught two passes for no yards this season.
--- WR Antonio Bryant has provided a big lift to the offense with 245 yards receiving on eight catches. Bryant caught a 72-yard touchdown pass from QB Alex Smith to provide the deciding points in the 49ers' victory over the Rams. Despite ranking 45th in the league with eight receptions, Bryant is third in the NFL in receiving yards and his 30.6 average per reception is a NFL high.
---WR Arnaz Battle had a 56-yard pass reception and also has a 60-yard punt return in the first two games. Battle has managed to remain healthy after missing extensive time in training camp with a knee injury.
--- WR Bryan Gilmore is the team's No. 3 receiver and comes into games in place of starter Arnaz Battle, on occasion. Gilmore has three catches for 33 yards and is also a factor on reverses. He has one run for 22 yards.
--- TE Vernon Davis did not have a catch in the second game of the season after failing to haul down a one-handed attempt in the end zone. Davis caught five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. Davis has proved to be an effective blocker.
--- TE Eric Johnson saw 17 plays in the second game of the season after getting on the field for just 10 plays in the opener. Johnson, who had a team-high 82 receptions in 2004, has one catch for two yards in two games.
--- LG Larry Allen is expected to be out at least another couple weeks with a sprained left knee. He missed Sunday's game against the Rams with the injury, which he sustained on the sixth play of the season-opener Sept. 10.
--- LT Jonas Jennings tested his tender right ankle on the field prior to Sunday's game against the Rams, but it was determined he was not fit to play. Jennings said he will definitely be ready to go Sunday against the Eagles.
--- K Joe Nedney, who set the 49ers' single-season record last year for field-goal accuracy, missed his second attempt of the season on Sunday when he was wide left from 46 yards out.
--- LB Manny Lawson recorded his first two NFL sacks. He also had two quarterback pressures and threw Rams RB Steven Jackson for a 2-yard loss on a running play that ultimately thwarted a St. Louis drive that ended with Jeff Wilkins missing a 46-yard field-goal attempt.
--- CB Walt Harris was awarded the defensive game ball for his performance Sunday against the Rams. Harris had seven tackles and also broke up three passes, two of which were deep passes intended for WR Torry Holt.
--- S Chad Williams, whom coach Mike Nolan signed after coaching him with the Ravens, had a big game on blitzes from his job as the nickel back. Williams had the first two-sack game of his five-year NFL career


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