The San Francisco 49ers win over the Philadelphia Eagles featured a bit of a "throw-back" performance from Frank Gore. The 49ers all-time leading rusher finished with 119 rushing yards on 24 carries, marking his highest yardage total since Week 4 last season, and his highest carries total since Week 7 last season. He was finding space, and carved up the Eagles to the tune of 5.0 yards per carry.
There were some complaints at times on Sunday about the game plan, with people wanting more carries for Gore. Looking back, I think for the most part Greg Roman and his staff put together a solid game plan. The offensive line struggled mightily in pass protection, and Kap dealt with some accuracy issues, but the plan in place was fairly solid. The big issue is improving execution, as opposed to the philosophy of what they are doing.
The performance moved Gore a little bit further up the all-time charts. Entering the game, Gore had 10,106 yards, which was good for 28th place. His 119-yard performance moved him up to 10,225 yards. This moved him past Adrian Peterson for 27th place all time. I did not expect Gore to ever pass Peterson, but obviously events this season changed that situation completely.
Next up for Gore on the all-time list? Former Giants and Rams running back Ottis Anderson and his 10,273 yards. Gore needs 49 yards this Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs to move past Anderson for No. 26 all time. After that, there are some recognizable names on the list:
25. Eddie George: 10,441
24. Tiki Barber: 10,449
23. Thomas Jones: 10,591
22. Jamal Lewis, 10,607
21. Ricky Watters: 10,643
20. Steven Jackson: 10,830
19. Warrick Dunn: 10,967
18. O.J. Simpson: 11,236
17. Corey Dillon: 11,241
I would be surprised if Gore surpassed Simpson and Dillon this season, but if he hits exactly 1,000 yards by the end of the year, he will match Dunn. Given his blocking prowess, if he can get another year or two in, the Hall of Fame is suddenly not quite the craziest notion. I have not thought it's crazy for Gore to be a Hall of Famer, but I felt he had some work to do.
If he can get a Super Bowl ring this year, that might very well cut down the number of additional yards he needs to earn a spot in Canton. That is a little bit unfair, but that is what often happens with NFL voters. Getting a single Super Bowl ring is a great thing, but the effect it could have on Gore's candidacy could be kind of crazy. Joe Montana built a sizable chunk of his reputation on his four Super Bowl rings, but I am inclined to give those kind of numbers a bit more credence than a single Super Bowl win.
And of course, the big question will be where Gore gets the last of his yards. He is still looking good, but he is also coming up on the end of his contract. I remain convinced the 49ers will turn the keys to the car over to Carlos Hyde next season. If Gore finishes this year strong, it is always possible they bring him back for another year, but we'll have to wait and see how the 2014 season plays out. Bill Walsh always talked about moving on from a player a year too early instead of a year too late, and I think we will see this with Gore.