Frank Gore sounds willing to back off

During the 49ers' long stretch of futility, Frank Gore often was reluctant to share the load. He wanted to do anything he could to stave off the mounting losses -- even if that meant withstanding his own mounting injuries.

Now that the 49ers have a commanding lead in the NFC West, Gore sounds a lot more open to the idea of backing off. Looking ahead, the 49ers (7-1) might be able to clinch the division title early enough to let their leading rusher freshen up for the first playoff game of his seven-year career.
"It's up to Coach. Whatever he feels is best for our team, for us. (That's) what we would do," Gore said Thursday. "I don't have any say-so about whether I should play less, or whatever."

Gore said his latest injury, to his left ankle, will not prevent him from taking the Candlestick Park field Sunday against the New York Giants. He said he "feels good" and vowed to practice all week.

Gore has five consecutive 100-yard games. He needs 149 yards to surpass Joe "The Jet" Perry (7,344 yards) for the 49ers' all-time franchise record.

The Giants rank only 25th in the NFL against the run (allowing 127.1 yards per game), but Gore said the stat is deceiving. He pointed to a game in which Buffalo's Fred Jackson racked up 121 rushing yards -- but 80 came on one touchdown run.

"They broke down on that one play. But they play well as a group," Gore said. "As a group, they're athletic. They've got some big guys in there, like (Justin) Tuck."

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