Why 49ers’ RB Frank Gore holds key to success vs. Rams



The San Francisco 49ers (3-2) finally got their first winning streak of the 2014 season after beating the Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) at home. A streak that took some time, the 49ers now find themselves above .500 and a big part of that success is due to 10-year veteran RB Frank Gore.

The player known as the “Inconvenient Truth,” it was Gore who continued to move the chains while keeping the 49ers offense at work. A player that has displayed toughness in his last two games as he’s racked up 42 carries for 226 yards, the 49ers must continue to ride their workhorse, especially against a banged up St. Louis Rams (1-3) defensive line.


A defensive line that is without starting DE Chris Long, as he suffered an ankle injury that will likely sideline him for the next 6 to 8 weeks, the 49ers can now solely turn their attention on DE Robert Quinn. A breakout player as Quinn was named a 2013 first-team All-Pro, this season has been vastly different without his sidekick in the lineup as he has no sacks to speak of. And while Quinn is still a force in both the run and pass, it will be up to 49ers T Joe Staley to keep his franchise quarterback upright while creating holes on that left-side. But the question remains, will the 49ers stick to the run? I believe they will.

The Rams are Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde when it comes to their defense. They rank No. 1 in the NFL against the pass while ranking No. 29 against the run. So what should 49ers OC Greg Roman do? Pound the rock between the tackles with Gore. So far this season, the Rams have not looked like themselves on the defensive side of the ball. Sure, they have two outstanding linebackers in OLB Alec Ogletree and MLB James Laurinaitis but the unit hasn’t looked right under DC Gregg Williams, which leads me to believe the 49ers will run a lot on Monday. And with Gore finding his mid-season stride, that should bode well for him as he should score on gameday.

In Gore’s last four meetings against the Rams he has scored touchdowns all while rushing for 350 yards in the process. A true bruiser down in the trenches, look for that offensive line to earn their paychecks on Monday as they open up gaping holes for their Pro Bowl running back.

Led by LG Mike Iupati as he ranks No. 1 in the NFL in run-blocking according to Pro Football Focus, the 49ers should run to that left-side to start the game. A side that will likely see a lot of OLB Jo-Lonn Dunbar, look for the 49ers to run right at him as he tries to set the edge. And while Rams promising rookie DT Aaron Donald is holding his own evident by four tackles for loss, he will also need to be contained in the running game as C Daniel Kilgore and RG Alex Boone shore up that middle.

If the 49ers offensive line can continue to impose their will down in the trenches all while hitting that second-level, the 49ers should have no problems moving the chains. And if the Rams decide to stack the box while bringing pressure at the line of scrimmage, look for 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick to make them pay as he turns into a great quarterback when blitzed.

A team that needs to stick to their strengths, it should be the running game that sets the tone on Monday Night, as I predict Gore to have a stat line around 17 carries for 93 yards and one touchdown.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.