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Frank Gore Calls His Own Number in 49ers Victory

Posted Dec 23, 2013

San Francisco's all-time leading rusher took charge of the huddle at a crucial time of the team's 34-24 victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

When he’s not on the field, Frank Gore can often be seen on the sideline during 49ers games chatting up his coaches and teammates. Gore doesn't have a headset on, but it's clear he wouldn't mind calling the plays.

San Francisco's all-time leading called his own number for a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown during his 21-carry, 97-yard performance in San Francisco’s 34-24 victory over the visiting Atlanta Falcons.

With the 49ers nursing a 20-17 lead that would prove precarious, quarterback Colin Kaepernick had been patched through a call for 2nd-and-goal at the one-yard line, and Gore didn’t like it.

The frustration of his one-yard rush from the two-yard line on first down was apparent.

“The scoring play was called by the players,” Jim Harbaugh said. “Frank wanted the repeat of the call we had on first down.”

49ERS 34 - FALCONS 24:  Full Highlights | Game Photos

Kaepernick confirmed: “Frank said he wanted the same thing, and I wasn’t about to argue with him. I don’t think Coach was too mad because we scored.”

Gore smelled the 60th touchdown of his nine-year career, and he wasn't about to let it get away.

“I saw the defense, how they were playing, and we were at what, the inch-line?" Gore asked. "And the ‘backers were playing five yards back. I knew it was a quick hit, and I know I quick-hitted it. I barreled through.

"But I'm happy he listened to me. That’s one thing I love about ‘Kap,’ he listens to his players, his teamamtes.”

How often does Gore ask Kaepernick to change the play in the huddle?

“It's rarely,” Gore said. “But I just know when they called another play."

With Gore’s production, plus 51 yards each from reserve Kendall Hunter (three carries, one for a 45-yarder that preceded Gore’s score) and Kaepernick, the 49ers rushed for 199 as a unit.

Gore (9,953) passed Clinton Portis (9,923) to move into 29th on the NFL's all-time rushing rankings. He'll be within striking distance of 10,000 yards for his career come Week 17 in Arizona.

“He looked good. He broke some runs in the first half and the second half as well,” Harbaugh said, turning away a reporter’s question about Gore’s sore ankles. “Thought the line really asserted itself, especially on the scoring drive.”

Not only the line: Reserves Will Tukuafu and Anthony Dixon split time at fullback, with Tukuafu, who was resigned last week, getting the larger share of the opportunities created by incumbent Bruce Miller’s season-ending injury.

“I’m happy he’s back with the team and got the opportunity to show he belongs with us,” Gore said of Tukuafu. “He did a great job.”


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