Both skill sets have been tested in the first two weeks of the 2013 regular season.
Through two weeks, Gore is averaging a career-low 2.0 yards per carry. The 49ers all-time leader in carries, rushing yards and rushing touchdowns has carried the ball 30 times for 60 yards and has one touchdown on the ground.
As a whole, San Francisco ranks tied for 17th in rushing the football, posting 190 rushing yards in two games. Colin Kaepernick, the dual-threat quarterback, leads the team with 109 of those yards.
For his part in the equation, Gore is keeping a team-first outlook on his production. Green Bay and Seattle, San Francisco’s first two opponents, have crowded the box to disrupt the 49ers powerful running game. The 49ers felt crowded running lanes at times last season, but ultimately finished 2012 with the league’s No. 4 overall rushing offense.
“It’s tough on Frank because that’s our guy, that’s our workhorse,” fullback Bruce Miller said on Wednesday. “He puts the team on his back and he carries us most of the time. To be struggling right now as a group, it’s not Frank; Frank is one of the best in the league. I think it’s more us, the guys up front.
“I know he’s getting frustrated with what’s going on, but he has to continue to be patient and we’ll get it better and execute better.”
Gore's likely going to be the second-most talked-about running back on the field at Candlestick Park. With the Indianpolis Colts trading a first-round draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson, all eyes will be on the second-year pro's Indianapolis debut.
Gore was on the practice field at the time of the Colts trade, but he'll simply continue to go about his business and not dwell on the opposition's running back. Gore's focus is another aspect of his game that makes him unique.
The same way Gore attacks the line of scrimmage with calculated steps looking to lower his shoulder and dart through the opposition, is the way the 49ers running back has to approach the regular season as a whole.
San Francisco’s Week 3 challenge features several familiar names to Gore. Most notably, the 49ers running back is well aware of the defensive coordinator he’ll face, Greg Manusky, San Francisco’s defensive play-caller from 2007-10.
Gore is also familiar with Colts starting defensive tackle, Ricky Jean Francois, a Miami native who trained with Gore in previous offseasons. Even so, Gore feels like those prior relationships won't matter in his production.
“I don’t care what they do,” said Gore with a stern look. “It’s about us. We have to get better.”
Gore has a rushing touchdown in five of his last six games against AFC opponents. So while he’s concentrating on continuing his success in non-conference games, Gore is really after picking up wins at this point of his career.
The nine-year pro said as much.
Coming off a 16-yard effort against Seattle on the road, Gore was more peeved about losing than his low rushing total.
“I’m frustrated by the loss, really. We have to get better in the running game,” Gore, 30, said. “We have to get it done. There are a lot of teams playing us (tough), we still have to find a way to get it done.”
Miller, too, is confident the 49ers can clean up mistakes in the running game by winning one-on-one battles in the trenches.
“We have to all work together and play as a group, one unit, and have to make the blocks,” the third-year pro said.
Gore expects teams to keep surrounding the box with eight and nine defenders as long as he’s on the field.
If that’s the case this week, Gore is prepared to showcase his determination and patience.
“We have to find a way,” he said. “We have to get it done.”