The 49ers look back on their season-opening victory over the Seahawks and know they have to do a better job of running the ball.
If the Niners want to take pressure off quarterback Alex Smith and control the clock, a solid rushing offense will be critical.
Against the Seahawks in Game 1 this past Sunday, San Francisco rushed for just 85 yards on 32 attempts. The 2.7 yards-per-carry average was, noted the Chronicle’s Eric Branch, the sixth-lowest total in the NFL in Week 1.
Frank Gore, the 49ers workhorse, carried 22 times for 59 yards against a team he has twice torched for 200-yard games.
Now, San Francisco hosts the Dallas Cowboys Sunday, a team that gave up just 42 yards rushing to the Jets (Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson) in their opener.
This week, the 49ers said the running game difficulties were simply a result of Seattle’s new-found focus on stopping the run and occasional blocking breakdowns.
“I think it comes down to coming off the ball a little bit better,” offensive tackle Joe Staley told Branch. “It wasn’t anything schematically or anything overly troubling. It was just one guy getting beat on a certain block …
“It’s something that’s definitely going to be able to be taken care of this week in practice. (We) hope for a big game.”
Said Gore, to The Sporting News, of his game against the Seahawks: “After me whooping up on them for so many years, they didn’t want that to happen again.”
Though Gore has four seasons of at least 1,000 yards rushing, he hasn’t fared well against the Cowboys in his two regular-season games against them. In 2008, he carried 14 times for 26 yards; in 2005, he had seven rushes for 42 yards.
“We just got to get better,” Gore says. “And we will.”