Gore gashes Seahawks on way to team record

Frank Gore lost another fumble in a critical situation Sunday. But it didn't seem to matter much to anybody afterwards because of all the wonderful things the flashy second-year running back accomplished during the afternoon to push the 49ers to a 20-14 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Gore was utterly magnificent, running through and over the Seattle defense the entire afternoon for 212 yards rushing on 22 carries, the most yards gained in a game by a 49er in the 61-year history of the franchise.

"That was fun," said Gore, who had a 51-yard run in the first quarter and a 50-yard burst in the third quarter to highlight a day when he simply couldn't be stopped. "When I got in the secondary, I had (defensive backs) that didn't know what I was going to do. They didn't know if I was going to run through them or shake them. The holes were wide open. That got me into the killing zone."

And the constant gashing of Gore buried the Seahawks as the 49ers rumbled for 262 yards on the ground to finish with a season-high 416 yards of total offense. Gore bettered his previous career high of 159 yards rushing last week against Detroit - when he played only three quarters because of a concussion - and he now has rushed for 371 yards in the past eight days, the second-most every for a 49er over a two-game stretch.

Gore has an NFL-leading 11 rushes of 20 or more yards this season, and his record day pushed his season total to 1,043 yards rushing, which currently places him two yards behind Kansas City's Larry Johnson for the NFL lead.

"He's a special player," 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young said. "For a defense, it's great to just sit back and see Frank have a game like that."

Gore had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season and third in a row. He's the first 49ers running back to have back-to-back 100-yard games since Garrison Hearst had three in a row in 1998. That was the year Hearst rushed for a franchise season record 1,570 yards, but he better watch out. Gore is on a pace to shatter that record with six games remaining this season.

"I kind of new how special Frank was when I got to play with him last year," said quarterback Alex Smith, who also had a fine day, completing 19 of 25 passes for 163 yards and a quarterback rating of 105.9. "I don't think the general public got to see what I saw. He was kind of hidden and ready to break out. When you have the guys blocking up front like that, combined with the way Frank runs, it is a pretty scary combination."

The Seahawks found that out first-hand, and they left the field not only beaten but also impressed.

"You saw today that he's an excellent back," Seattle defensive tackle Russell Davis said. "He takes advantage of the littlest opportunities, and the next thing you know, he's breaking one 40 or 50 yards. Nothing he does surprises me. He's a physical runner. If you don't wrap him up, he'll get away from you. He just keeps going, and he's very difficult to stop in the open field."

Gore stopped himself and the 49ers at a pivotal point late in the game. After the San Francisco defense had stuffed the Seahawks on fourth-and-1 at the Seattle 36-yard line at the two minute warning, Gore took an inside handoff and fumbled the ball back to the Seahawks, giving them another opportunity to pull out the victory.

It was Gore's fifth lost fumble of the season.

"On the fumble, I was trying to make something happen," Gore said. "I saw something and tried to jump in the hole and a guy just came in and hit the ball in the right spot and it popped out. I was like, ‘Dang!' But the defense held them, and I got another chance."

Walt Harris recorded his second interception of the afternoon two plays later, and the 49ers went right back to Gore on the next play, showing confidence in their franchise back despite his fumble of a few minutes before.

Gore took a handoff from Smith and ripped through the middle of the Seattle defense again for a 17-yard gain, giving the 49ers a first down that helped them burn time off the clock while also giving Gore the team record.

Gore now has a healthy 5.5 average per carry this year - the best among the league's leading backs - and he's on a pace to finish the season with 1,669 yards.

"I'm just going to keep working," Gore said. "When you work hard every day, it pays off."

In a very big way, as Gore showed everybody Sunday.

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