The San Francisco 49ers had plenty of problems in the mid-2000s, culminating with the worst record in the league in 2004, and the No. 1 draft pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Alex Smith was the top pick, but the 49ers made a franchise-altering move in the third round when they selected running back Frank Gore.
Frank Gore was the heart and soul of the 49ers offense for the last decade, but in 2006, Gore put up a percentage of the 49ers offense that was ridiculous. Gore finished the 2006 season with 2,180 yards from scrimmage. That included a franchise record 1,695 rushing yards and 485 receiving yards. The 49ers had a total of 5,062 yards from scrimmage that season. Antonio Bryant was second in yards from scrimmage with 733 yards (all receiving). Arnaz Battle was third with 711 yards, including 686 receiving yards.
Gore's 2,180 yards were good for 43.1 percent of the 49ers total offense that year. Chase Stuart put together a ranking of single season leaders in yards from scrimmage. Gore's 2006 season finished eight on that list. The top ten was as follows:
1. O.J. Simpson, Bills, 1973 - 47.9%
2. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars, 2011 - 44.2%
3. Ladainian Tomlinson, Chargers, 2003 - 44.1%
4. Chris Johnson, Titans, 2009 - 44%
5. Jamal Lewis, Ravens, 2003 - 43.7%
6. Walter Payton, Bears, 1977 - 43.5%
7. Cliff Battles, Boston Braves, 1932 - 43.4%
8. Frank Gore, 49ers, 2006 - 43.1%
9. Eric Dickerson, Rams, 1984 - 42.8%
10. Marshall Faulk, Colts, 1998 - 42.6%
Gore's next highest percentage came the following year, when he was responsible for 37 percent of the team's total yards from scrimmage. That is good for 58th on the list. After that, his 2009 season finished 244th at 31.2 percent of the total yards from scrimmage.
We already knew that Frank Gore was the engine of this offense for so many years. I suppose something like this just serves to reinforce that. It will be interesting to see how long it is before the 49ers have a workhorse back like that. Carlos Hyde could end up as such a work-horse, but the 49ers could be evolving into more of a committee approach in 2015. Reggie Bush and Kendall Hunter are only signed for this season, but the team did draft Mike Davis as well. And of course, even if Hyde gets the bulk of carries, ideally we hope the 49ers have enough other weapons to offset his work. Paging Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis and so many more!