Last season, the San Francisco 49ers had a balanced attack on offense. In the run game, the 49ers relied on Frank Gore to take the brunt of the carries and when they needed a change of pace back, they looked to Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. They even looked to Anthony Dixon to get the tough yards when Gore was out of the game. They played power football and ran the ball behind their physical offensive line and tight ends, Vernon Davis and Delanie Walker.
Their receiver corps consisted of Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham and Vernon Davis. Crabtree was Kaepernick’s go-to-guy, Manningham provided a great possession receiver for Kap and Davis became a deep threat. Walker served as a matchup problem for every team in the league because he was a tight end but ran like a wide receiver.
The 49ers were a juggernaut on offense last season but this season has been a much different story. Walker (signed by the Titans), Crabtree (torn Achilles) and Manningham (torn ACL and PCL) have not played for the 49ers this season and the 49ers are looking for answers on how to replace them. Kaepernick has not found that consistent go-to-guy that Crabtree was last season. It looked like it might have been Anquan Boldin but after his amazing debut with over 200 yards, he has been a non-factor in the offense. Davis looked good in week 1 as well but like Boldin has been non-existent in this offense, catching just three passes since week 1.
In the run game, Frank Gore only has 142 yards on the ground in three games. Hunter has 31 yards and James has yet to see the yard due to a sprained MCL. From a team that put up over 300 yards against the Packers in the divisional playoff game last season, this team has yet to gain 300 yards on the ground this season.
Gore barely saw the field in the second half in the 49ers embarrassing performance against the Colts, losing 27-7. Gore rushed one time for seven yards on the first play of the third quarter and did not see the field the rest of the game. You can’t have your best running back getting one carry when the game is still in reach. He carried the ball 10 times for 75 yards in the first half so he was definitely getting the job done.
As for the other weapons on this team, Kyle Williams and Vance McDonald have combined for 12 catches in three games. Rookie receiver Quinton Patton seems to be the new A.J. Jenkins, catching no passes in three games. All these guys must step up Thursday especially if Davis is out with a hamstring injury. They will need to continue to step up because if they don’t, the 49ers title hopes may become non-existent.
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