What a game.
It's games like these that make die hard football fans proud to be involved with the sport. Beginning to end, that's exactly what it looks like when two teams of that caliber and philosophy clash under the circumstances they did -- it's a struggle, penalties and all. I experienced just about every kind of emotion one could fathom to undergo in a single football game. I'm just glad that the final emotion I felt was joy, with San Francisco coming out on top in a 25-19 victory over the Detroit Lions.
This was a beautiful team win and I really emphasize that it took the entire team to win; all three phases of the game. With that said, I would like to introduce my offensive MVP in the week 6 win against the formerly undefeated Lions. 49ers runningback Frank Gore put together a stellar performance against a team that was no doubt gameplanning to stop him.
While the 49ers defense extended their streak for not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 28 games, Gore tore apart the 12th ranked defense for 141 yards on 15 carries and a score. Early in the season, there were doubters who claimed Gore had lost a step because of his fractured hip or that he wasn't trying as hard since he got a contract extension.
Over the past two weeks, the Pro Bowl runningback has silenced the doubters with his level of play. Upon Jim Harbaugh's arrival, it was a certainty that Gore was going to be an essential centerpiece to the west coast offense he planned to install.
While Gore had a couple drops or missed opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield, he capitalized on the lanes the Niners offensive line was providing. At the end of the 1st quarter, Gore had a 47-yard break to put San Francisco inside the 2 yard line. Shortly after, Alex Smith handed the ball off to him as he pounded it in for 6. And that 47-yarder wouldn't be his longest of the day.
Almost 5 minutes into the second half, Gore took a handoff on 2nd and 13 for a 55-yard gain into Lions territory. There wasn't a moment where Gore's ability as a runner in this league came into question. On the wrong side of 25-years old, Gore is still contributing at a high level and is a big reason the 49ers left Ford Field victorious.
Gore looked explosive out of the hole, followed his blockers and appeared elusive in traffic. His years of experience have clearly taught him patience when hitting the hole; he is a very intelligent runner. His ability to make big plays and get first downs kept San Francisco alive in a very physical football game. A huge credit must be given to the offensive line, who won the majority of the battles in this week 6 war.
The addition of Kendall Hunter as a compliment to Gore has seemingly made him more effective. Right now, the 49ers are 5-1 and by the look of the records of the other three NFC West teams, San Francisco should be on track for their first playoff appearance in a decade. With Hunter relieving Gore of 5 to 10 carries per game, Gore should be fresh for the extra game(s) at the back end of the season.
Coach Jim Harbaugh has all of San Francisco's players performing at an optimum level, giving Gore a chance for a return trip to Hawaii. But more importantly, it improves the 49ers chances of overall team success. 6 games in, it is clear that this is a different football team in the Bay Area. The Inconvenient Truth is back and in a big way.
Come back to Niners Nation tomorrow when I break down my defensive MVP against the Lions. Can you guess who it is? Return tomorrow to find out if you were right.
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