GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 11: Runningback Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Alex Boone #75 after scoring on a 37 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the thrid quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 11, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the 49ers 21-19. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers have found a lot of success this season by establishing a strong rushing attack and complementing it with a solid mix of passes. While there is no magic number for runs or passes, when the 49ers have been successful, Alex Smith has often been in that mid-20s to low-30s pass attempt total. It is not a scientific calculation but it is still something to consider.
Against the Cardinals, the 49ers were throwing passes a lot more frequently and Coach Harbaugh even indicated the game plan was a bit more pass heavy than normal. Smith was 18 of 37 while getting sacked five times. It was not a pretty passing performance as the team seemed to stray away from the run at times.
Frank Gore finished the game with 10 carries while Kendall Hunter finished with eight carries. There has been some speculation Gore might have been banged up or that the 49ers were working to rest him a bit. Coach Harbaugh said it was all part of the game plan, but I'm not sure what to think about the decisions with regards to the rushing game. I'm not saying the 49ers were going to find great success by giving Gore the ball 20+ times, but it leaves me scratching my head.