For a running back who has six seasons of over 1,000 yards and a 4.6 yards per carry lifetime average, Frank Gore is in uncharted territory. Through the first two games of the season, the 49ers’ all time leading rusher has carried the ball 30 times for only 60 yards. That equals out to 2.0 yards per carry which is the fifth lowest through two games since the merger for a player with at least 30 attempts.
It’s unfair to say that Gore, who is now 30 years old, has lost a step. He has had virtually no running room so far as the offensive line has struggled to give him space to operate. The Niner’s line graded out as one of the best in the NFL last season and, with all of their talent, one would think the struggles won’t last very long. Still, Jim Harbaugh knows the issue needs to be addressed.
“There are things we’ll put our finger on and try to make improvement – significant improvement – this week,” Harbaugh said. “That’s something that, early part of the season, you want to make the most of, identifying where you can get better, make improvements, and you want to see those improvements made.”
This is not the first time under Harbaugh that Gore and the running game have struggled early on (although not to this extent). In 2011, Gore had 106 yards on 42 carries in the team’s first two games. He went on to gain 1105 yards on 240 carries over the rest of the season. Granted, that 49er team had little time to gel offensively because of the lockout and that may have contributed to the slow start. The 2013 version doesn’t have that excuse as they have had ample time to prepare. Fullback Bruce Miller thinks the answer is simple. Win your battle at the line of scrimmage.
“It’s about execution, winning one-on-one battles, communicating better and playing together as a unit,” said Miller. “We have seen some different things, some movement up front, and we just have to follow our rules and execute better.”
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