Frank Gore bogged down

Back in August, before he was averaging 2.5 yards on 42 carries, 49ers running back Frank Gore spoke with great anticipation about playing in a creative West Coast offense that would better utilize the Niners’ talent.

In doing so, he looked back on previous San Francisco attacks that were so predictable (here’s comes Gore up the middle!) opposing defenses called out the 49ers’ plays at the line of scrimmage.

“That was tough,” Gore said, recalling the disastrous one-year reign of offensive coordinator Jim Hostler in 2007.

I recalled those words last week because, well, Gore basically repeated them.

Asked about running against a Seahawks defense that routinely threw eight defenders in the box to stop him, Gore said, “It was tough, man.”

Yes, the new offense is producing eerily similar quotes from Gore – and the opposition – two games into the season.

Said Cowboys linebacker DeMarcus Ware after Dallas stuffed Gore (20 carries, 47 yards) on Sunday: “Frank Gore is their guy. That’s the guy. They have that ground-and-pound offense, really physical. We had to be able to make them one dimensional and stop Frank Gore.”

Sound vaguely familiar?

The results, so far, have actually been worse.

Consider that Gore has gained three yards or fewer on 32 of his 42 carries (76 percent) this season. In addition, he’s averaged less than three yards a carry in consecutive games for just the third time in his career (Nov. 23-30, 2008 and Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2009).

What’s going on?

The run blocking — and Gore not being what he was circa 2006 — are certainly contributing factors. But the Niners’ inability to de-clog opposing defenses with a stretch-the-field passing game likely tops the list: Alex Smith ranks 30th in the NFL in yards per completion (9.8).

* As noted, 32 of Gore’s 42 carries have gained three yards or less.

Here’s a look at the breakdown:

Negative yardage: 7

No gain: 4
1 yard: 8 (one was a one-yard TD run)
2 yards: 6
3 yards: 7
4 yards: 1
5 yards: 2
6 yards: 1
7 yards: 3
8 yards: 0
9 yards: 1
10 or more: 2

Click here to order Frank Gore’s proCane Rookie Card.

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