Something had to give on Thursday night at Candlestick Park.
Entering the NFC West showdown between two first-place teams, the 49ers toted the NFL’s best rushing attack, while Seattle boasted the league’s No. 2 rush defense. When the dust settled after the 13-6 San Francisco win, it was clear who won the battle between the teams’ strengths.
And it wasn’t even close.
“I just got in a rhythm and my o-line and receivers did a great job blocking,” Gore said. “I feel like once I get in rhythm, I feel like I can’t be stopped.”
At times, Gore certainly looked unstoppable under the Thursday night lights. That’s because the offensive line opened gaping holes for him all night, shoving aside a defense that had given up an average of just 70 yards per game.
By the time
“When everybody is on one page, we can do great things in the running game,” Gore said.
As much as Gore appreciated his linemen creating big running lanes, they appreciated his ability to finish runs with power.
“Frank made some unbelievable runs,” center
Following the game, fired-up 49ers Coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters the second half featured the most physical 30 minutes of football he had ever seen from his team.
That statement was directed at both sides of the ball. Not only was the defense meeting Seattle’s punishing running back Marshawn Lynch at the point of attack, but the linemen were mauling at the line of scrimmage.
“It was more, ‘Let’s get back to our roots and let’s do what we’re good at,’” guard
Gore really got going after intermission, as he picked up 92 of his yards on 10 second-half carries. Boone said he felt like the 49ers really wore the Seahawks down in the third quarter, especially on the 10-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown catch by
“This Thursday night game just came down to who wanted to be a tougher guy,” Boone said. “It (stinks) playing on Thursday, you’re tired from the Sunday game, but the battle of wills is going to happen and you’ve got to bring your ‘A’ game and just got to say, ‘I’m going to be tougher today.’”
Gore was a one-man wrecking crew on the touchdown drive, as he accounted for 50 yards from scrimmage on series. In all, the 49ers offensive co-captain produced his team’s three longest plays on the night, including fourth-quarter runs of 37 and 20 yards. He now has 32, 100-yard games in his career, the most of any back since 2005.
“We knew coming in that we had to be successful in the run game to win this game,” said Pro Bowl tackle
True to form, the 49ers coaching staff attributed the second-half success to the players on the field for executing and making plays. Vice-versa, the players showered Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman with praise after putting the offense in position to win.
Gore had especially lofty words for Roman, who has won over the entire 49ers huddle with his innovative play-calling and clearly made some smart halftime adjustments on Thursday.
“Playing with G-Ro for my second year, I think he’s probably the best coordinator I’ve ever played with especially in the running game,” Gore said. “He’s a genius. We’ve just got to keep it up, as a team, as a unit.”
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers were able to weather the storm from Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch. Though the Oakland native had 19 carries for 103 yards, he was shut out of the end zone and for the most part contained all night.
The 49ers expected a physical battle from Lynch and company and they got it.
Meanwhile, Seattle wunderkind Russell Wilson fell back to earth against the San Francisco defense, going 9 of 23 for 122 yards and an interception.
“Coming off a loss, we wanted to go out there and get that mojo back,”
Pass Defense Corrals Wilson
San Francisco’s secondary kept up its domination of opposing quarterbacks again on Thursday. The unit entered as the No. 2 pass defense in the NFL and improved to the league’s top-ranked group for the time being.
After holding Wilson to a season-low 122 yards and a 39.1 completion percentage (9 of 23), the 49ers are giving up an average of just 173.4 passing yards per game.
“We have a bunch of guys back there that – we’re not going to back down,”
“I just read the quarterback pretty good,” Goldson said. “Our front seven did a good job of rushing the quarterback, he put some air under the ball and I just ran underneath it.”
Special Teams Shows Up
Ginn was especially deadly returning punts, as he broke off a 38-yarder in the second quarter to give the 49ers the ball at the 50-yard line, while also pulling off a big 16-yard return in the fourth quarter. Ginn also reclaimed kickoff return duties from
Aside from Ginn, Harbaugh said he was also pleased with the team’s coverage units and the specialists. Akers nailed a 38-yard field goal to extend his franchise record to 23 straight games with a conversion, while
“Dynamite,” Harbaugh said. “Coverage was great. Against a tremendous returner (Leon Washington) and Seattle had been very good on special teams. And it was lights out on the coverage teams. And then Ted Ginn again had a great game tonight. We just played really well on special teams.”
Haggans Makes 49ers Debut
“He was about to knock me out,” Willis said with a laugh. “I said, ‘Man, that’s the biggest hit on me all year and it was by my own man.’”
Hard-hitting jokes aside, Haggans said he was happy to contribute to a 49ers win with his teammates. With the victory, San Francisco (5-2) is in sole possession of first place in the NFC West.
“It was like being at home,” Haggans said. “It was good to get back out there and run around and get some live action. We’ve just got to keep it going. This feeling is definitely better than it was five days ago.”