Niner of the Week

Frank Gore is SFI's Niner of the Week for his performance in the 49ers' 23-13 season-opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Sunday standout: Gore led the 49ers with 96 yards rushing on 14 carries and also in receiving with four catches for 55 yards, accounting for 52 percent of San Francisco's 291 yards from scrimmage. Gore gave the 49ers their only lead of the day when he broke off the right side and then burst into the open field to beat Arizona defenders on a 41-yard dash to the end zone that put San Francisco ahead 7-3 with six minutes remaining in the first quarter with what proved to be the Niners' only touchdown of the afternoon. Gore produced positive yardage on each of his carries and half of his carries went for five yards or more. Gore also had receptions of 14 and 5 yards during a second-quarter drive that led to Joe Nedney's 39-yard field goal. He had a 14-yard reception in the fourth quarter that led to Nedney's 30-yard field goal. Five of Gore's 18 touches resulted in San Francisco first downs.

Season to date: After one week, Gore leads the 49ers in rushing, receptions, receiving yards, total yards from scrimmage and is second in points scored. He ranks sixth in the NFC and 10th in the NFL in rushing, and his 6.9 average ranks second among the league's top 10 leading rushers. His 41-yard run was the NFL's fourth-longest touchdown run during Week 1. He is tied for 22nd in the NFC in receptions, is 17th in the conference in receiving yards and his 13.8-yard average per catch ranks ninth among the league leaders. He also ranks among the NFL leaders in total yards from scrimmage.

Need to note: Gore's 41-yard touchdown run was his eighth career run of 40 yards or more and his fourth touchdown run of 40 yards or more. In his previous game against the Cardinals in November of last year, Gore rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns and recorded a career-high 11 receptions for 98 yards to personally account for 214 of San Francisco's 374 total offensive yards while earning NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. Gore, who has led the 49ers in both rushing and receptions each of the past two years, ranked fifth in the NFC last year with 1,102 yards rushing and 27th in the conference with 53 catches.

Gore says: "The offensive line did a great job and so did the receivers. They did a great job blocking down the field. I just read off my linemen, the hole was there, and I hit it. But we're a better team both on offense and defense. We just can't make the same mistakes that we did. You cannot win a NFL game when you make (five) turnovers."

Looking forward: Gore will continue to be the central figure of the San Francisco offense as the 49ers continue the first stage of their season. Gore accounted for a NFL-high 40.5 percent of San Francisco's offensive yardage in 2007, and if Sunday's opener was any indication, he'll continue to be counted upon for the bulk of the 49ers' yardage both on the ground and swinging out of the backfield in the passing game.

ALSO CONSIDERED: DE Justin Smith (game-high seven tackles, half a sack, two quarterback hits, participated in all 73 of San Francisco's defensive plays, strong effort throughout); LB Parys Haralson (four tackles, 2.5 sacks, two tackles behind the line of scrimmage, three quarterback hits, outstanding play from the defensive edge).

2007 NOTW LIST: Week 1: WR Arnaz Battle. Week 2: RB Frank Gore. Week 3: DE Marques Douglas. Week 4: P Andy Lee. Week 5: LB Patrick Willis. Week 6: No selection (49ers bye week). Week 7: LB Patrick Willis. Week 8: TE Vernon Davis. Week 9: LB Patrick Willis. Week 10: LB Jeff Ulbrich. Week 11: DE Marques Douglas. Week 12: RB Frank Gore. Week 13: LB Patrick Willis. Week 14: QB Shaun Hill. Week 15: QB Shaun Hill. Week 16: LB Patrick Willis. Week 17: LB Patrick Willis.

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