Each season since 2006 when Frank Gore was named the starting running back for the 49ers he has always been the sure thing on offense. The offense was non-existent from 2006-2009 when Gore rushed for over 1,000 yards in four straight seasons which made the feat all that more impressive. This season with Alex Smith back at quarterback and the 49ers installing a new offense Gore was going to be the focal point again. After two weeks however Gore and the running game is nowhere to be found.
A big reason for the running game, as well as the offense, not getting the results they desire is the offensive line. In week one against the Seahawks the O-line dominated, did not allow a sack and helped the running game to 85 yards. But in week two against a much tougher opponent the O-line gave up six sacks and helped the running game to only 74 yards. Both rushing totals are not anything to get excited about so the offensive line is partially to blame for the 49ers woes in the running game.
Another reason is lack of other running backs other than Gore carrying the football. Of the 56 rushing attempts by the running backs this season Gore has rushed the football 42 times. It does not make sense that 75% of the time Gore is handling the football on a running play while Anthony Dixon has one attempt for six yards and Kendall Hunter has two attempts for four yards. Dixon had no carries in week one while Hunter had no carries in week two. I have seen this offensive philosophy before and it did not work out well for Mike Singletary. For Gore’s sake and for the chances of the 49ers finishing the season with a winning record Jim Harbaugh needs to utilize Dixon and Hunter. Gore is the more experienced running back and a better receiver out of the backfield and at pass blocking than Dixon and Hunter. I understand that Gore has a workhorse mentality and never wants to come out of the game. But with his history of getting injured during the season the 49ers need someone other than Gore in the running back rotation.