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Has Our Running Game Been 'Figured Out'?

Since the Arizona Game, the 49ers Running Game hasn't been as effective. Before that game, 49er RB and WR carries averaged 6 yards per attempt. Since the Arizona game? 4 yards per attempt. Excluding the particularly awful run game performance against St. Louis, we're still only averaging 4.3 yards per RB/WR carry since the Arizona game.

Does anybody have an explanation for this, other than everyone's got tape on us now and its a lot harder to run?

Here is the data - QB carries were excluded from the totals.

RB/WR Carries/RB/WR Yards/Average

Green Bay Packers 26/156/6.0
Detroit Lions 22/141/6.4
Minnesota Vikings 16/63/3.9
New York Jets 36/185/5.1
Buffalo Bills 31/223/7.2
New York Giants 13/69/5.3
Seattle Seahawks 23/165/7.2
Arizona Cardinals 28/107/3.8
St. Louis Rams 24/112/4.7
Chicago Bears 25/111/4.4
New Orleans Saints 25/117/4.7
St. Louis Rams 27/64/2.4
Miami Dolphins 22/102/4.6
If it was we wouldn't be winning.
It's interesting.

This same trend happened last year, except we actually had success in the first few games this season. Last year Gore had a 3 or 4 game streak of going 125+. Then teams started to figure out our running game.

I think in the offseason we were able to put new wrinkles to reboot the process with the Packers BJ Raji admitting we ran plays they had never seen before.

Major difference between this year and last year is the knowledge of the system by our players and also Hunter playing a bigger role as well.

Bottom line is that you want to do whatever you can to have Gore and Co dominant for playoffs. In last year's playoffs the running game was pretty good, not great.

If we can have it great by then, then that would be awesome. Maybe next year will be a different story, but I think Kaep or Smith will need all the support they can get from the RBs.
[ Edited by JTsBiggestFan on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:29 AM ]
I listened to the game vs Miami. And Eric Davis did mention that Miami was flooding the line from we're pulling from.
Gore always wears down at the end of the season. Hunter, the best backup on the team is out for the rest of the season. That's where the running game is.
Furthermore, the o-line still sucks at pass blocking, the WR crop still blows, VD gets no balls from CK, and CK is still going throw growing pains...
The only saving grace is the defense, but how much longer can they hold up?
[ Edited by HOF49er on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:31 AM ]
good thing we don't have to be a run-first offense anymore I guess...
[ Edited by nickbradley on Dec 11, 2012 at 6:33 AM ]
Losing Hunter hurt us pretty bad. The good news is, it looks like LMJ could be able to take up some of that slack.
Nice to have depth.
Schedule's gotten tougher. That Buffalo game really skews things.
Since the Cards game all those teams have stacked the box. Gotta look at opponents. I mean the Cards are garbage so of course everything looked good vs them. The dolphins and Rams d line just simply out played the Niners o line.
No, teams just don't fear our passing game. Even when they back out of the box and set up off, we still tend to run. The teams that handled us well, and have beaten us all sold out on the run and shut it down, this is the "blue print" for beating us. This causes them to sell out on the run.
Originally posted by OKC49erFan:
Losing Hunter hurt us pretty bad. The good news is, it looks like LMJ could be able to take up some of that slack.
Nice to have depth.

it sure did hurt us ...but Dix better be ready to run the rock HARD when his # is called ...LMJ and Frank will need to stay fresh for the playoffs, so #24 will get a few shots carrying the ball ....Jacobs sure opened his mouth at the wrong time , this is where we could have used him ...oh well ...f**k Him

but I can see Harbaugh using the short pass as an extension of the running game the next three games ...ala bill walsh
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Frank "the Tank" says no.
So many variables that it's really rather worthless to look at the YPC from each game.

Every defense has different levels of skill at run/pass defense; every game situation is different (are we running the clock, putting together a long drive, or going for a quick score?).

And YPC can easily be skewed by long plays. Did we really run better against the Rams because Kap went for 50 yards that one play?

Gore, Hunter (until injured), and James still regularly find enough holes to gain 6+ yards inside the tackles. We have the best rushing offense in the league; we've had it since the beginning of the season, and we'll have it through the end of the season.
Didn't we just have a pretty good running game?

I know Frank only had 12 carries, and LMJ had a couple of losses so it skewed his average but the running game was effective. IMO, some people focus WAY too much on stats. If you actually watch the game, you would know our running game is still effective. I think early on, that success was unreal and not sustainable.
With the exception of the Saints, those are some very stout run D's ( yes even the Rams have good front 7). lets not forget that 4 yards per carry as an average is still more than respectable and bringing LMJ in to keep Frank fresh has already looked to be a big help. Despite the folks who seem to have decided the sky is falling and we suck all of the sudden because of a few shakey weeks...we are still first in rushing and looking good to stay that way through the rest of the season. I swear there are days I come in here and see more paniced people than a nuclear reactor meltdown.
[ Edited by PhillyNiner on Dec 11, 2012 at 8:39 AM ]