A day later and yesterday's win is still feeling pretty good. The play-calling seemed to satisfy the masses, as the shotgun and spread offense were certainly in quite the effect. The team moved the ball with some efficiency and obviously took care of business. A win is a win, and I'm as happy as anybody about a win.
However, yesterday's game raised a couple of questions for me, and I'm curious what other folks think. Primarily, I'm talking about Frank Gore. Gore finished the game with 16 carries for 33 yards and 7 catches for 14 yards. I will say that two of his best runs came on that final drive to set up the victory formation at the end of the game. But, that doesn't cover up the issues he faced the rest of the game.
Simply put, the rushing attack could not get going. Of course, in yesterday's game it didn't end up mattering as the Jaguars struggled in most facets of the game. Heading into the game, the Jaguars defense was last in the league in sacks with 10. They continued to struggle as Alex Smith saw very little pressure for most of the game. He did take a big hit on one of Vernon Davis's catches, but for the most part he had plenty of time in the pocket.
I bring this up for two reasons. First, a quality running game can be essential in stopping a strong pass rush. While this 49ers team may not be the power rushing team Mike Singletary wanted, a decent running game can still be a strong asset to even a spread offense. Second, the 49ers do face some less than stellar pass rushes, but they also are going to face some solid defenders. Even this coming weekend they face a Seattle defense that can still be dangerous (17th in the NFL in sacks).
The Jaguars were #3 in the NFL in rushing defense so yesterday's result was not exactly a shocking development. But it is certainly something to ponder. The Seahawks will be without Lofa Tatupu which certainly bodes well for Frank Gore. However, if the team is truly going with a more developed spread offense going forward, like we saw yesterday, will the rushing attack suffer? Or maybe the short passing options to the tight end become an extension of the rushing game?
I suppose if the 49ers keep winning it doesn't matter. However, the matchup with Jacksonville is not the best way to assess the rushing game going forward. So I'm just not sure what to think of it. What can we expect from the rushing game going forward?