Frank Gore asked a meaningful question on Sunday night after another strong individual performance.
"If it's not there," he said of running room, "what can I do?"
Fortunately for the 49ers, the running back's query was a rhetorical.
Gore carried the ball 17 times for 81 yards a first-quarter touchdown in San Francisco's 34-3 victory over the visiting Houston Texans. Yes, thanks to his blockers – right guard Alex Boone pulling to the left here, fullback Bruce Miller charging into a linebacker there – the franchise's all-time leading rusher had his lanes.
PHOTO GALLERY: 49ERS VS. TEXANS
That's not to say it was easy.
"I have to give it to the Texans," Gore said of the J.J. Watt-led group. "Their 'd-line' is good. That was probably the best front we've went through all year so far.
"Everybody knew coming into the season that my 'o-line' is one of the best in the league. Once I get going, it's hard to stop me."
That it was. Gore finished the 49ers first offensive drive of the game, a 12-play, 65-yard journey, with a one-yard run into the end zone behind Boone.
Plus, he ran for 26 yards on one second-quarter play, and his 16-yard scamper later in the period preceded reserve running back Anthony Dixon's two-yard touchdown run.
As much as Sunday night's game was about a defense wreaking havoc – the 49ers unit created four turnovers – it was also about a running game making sure those turnovers weren't wasted.
"The one thing I think we can pride ourselves on is our run game," Boone said of the Greg Roman-coordinated unit. "We have the best running back in the NFL and a physical offensive line. So that's one thing we've got to stick with, and I thought 'G-Ro' did a great job of dialing it up."
For Gore, this was his second best outing of the five-week-old season. No. 21 ran for 153 yards on 20 carries in the team's Week 4 win over St. Louis.
The 49ers host another division rival, the Arizona Cardinals, in Week 6. With the Seattle Seahawks (4-1) losing in Indianapolis in Week 5, the 49ers are now one game back of first place in the NFC West.
"In this league, it's always great when you get a win," Gore said. "We can't think about Seattle right now. We have to think about ourselves.
"We're the 49ers. When we're on, we can do what we want to do."