By Danny O’Neil
Taking a closer look at one player who figure to factor heavily into Sunday’s NFC title game between the Seahawks and 49ers: San Francisco’s Frank Gore:
• Position: Running back, certified Seahawks menace
• Height: 5-9
• Weight: 217
• Age: 30
• Experience: Ninth season
The biggest testament to Gore’s longevity in this league? He has rushed for more than 100 yards against three different Seahawks coaches. Two of them he gouged for 200 yards.
More coverage previewing Sunday’s NFC title game between the Seahawks and 49ers.
|“The Pete Carroll Show” | Blue 42 | Cold Hard Facts||• O’Neil: Errors may decide NFC championship||• Henderson: Taking a closer look at the 49ers||• Henderson: Russell Okung vs. 49ers’ Aldon Smith||• O’Neil: How the rivalry became so heated | Timeline||• Moore: Pete Carroll, Jim Harbaugh deny animosity||• Moore: Crowd isn’t enough for Hawks to beat 49ers||• Henderson: ‘No better matchup,’ Pete Carroll says|
So when Gore ran 51 yards to set up the game-winning field goal in San Francisco’s 19-17 victory at Candlestick Park on Dec. 8, it was really nothing new. Just the latest chapter with a guy who at this point could write a book on how to torment Seattle.
There have been five games in Seattle franchise history in which an opponent has rushed for 200 yards or more. Gore is responsible for two of them, so while quarterback Colin Kaepernick may get the bulk of the national attention on the 49ers’ offense, Seattle’s game plan for stopping San Francisco will start with Gore.
Patience isn’t always a virtue at a position often known for speed, but Gore’s patience is what sets him apart from other running backs. He’ll wait and let a whole develop as the defense overpursues before cutting up field.
“He’s got as good a sense in the line of scrimmage as anybody that’s playing in the game,” coach Pete Carroll said. “If you make a mistake he takes advantage of it, and he certainly did that against us. That’s exactly what happened.”
The team that has rushed for more yards has won the last eight regular-season games in the series between the Seahawks and 49ers, a trend that has only been reinforced under the two current head coaches.