A good year for the San Francisco 49ers got all the more special on Sunday, when running back Frank Gore became the second all-time rusher in franchise history.
Unlike some of the new faces on the roster this season, Gore has been with the squad through the good and the bad times. He’s experienced the seemingly endless losing streaks, constant barrage of put-downs and diminished respect that all have had to endure first hand, and he’s come out all the stronger for it.
Much as he had been all year long, Gore was instrumental in his team’s latest 20-10 victory over the Cleveland Browns this weekend – a win that put them at 6-1 on the year. He racked up a touchdown and 134 yards on 31 carries, but none more important than his short run in the third quarter to surpass Roger Craig and become the second all-time rusher in 49ers history.
He has now scored a touchdown in each of San Francisco’s last four games.
How does the talented running back continue to be so effective, week after week, game after game? Even his teammates can’t explain it.
"It's just so tough," Jackson said to reporters after the game, trying to find the right words (via Mark Purdy). "He's just so patient. He has those big offensive linemen in front of him, and he understands what the offense is trying to get done when they run the ball. And he waits to make his moves. Like I say, he's just so patient."
Rookie fullback Bruce Miller also couldn’t stop gushing about Gore’s consistently great showings.
"When it comes to the team concept, he's at the top. ... He's always helping me out, talking to me as we go to the scrimmage line or talking about what to expect,” he said.
"He almost makes the block for you. You just get in front of someone, and he makes the cut. He's just such a savvy football player."
As Murdy pointed out, of the top five rushers on San Francisco’s all-time rushing list -- Joe Perry, Gore, Craig, Ken Willard and Garrison Hearst -- the 49ers’ current star is the only one to have never finished a year with a winning record. An unfortunate streak that Gore will likely put an end to on this go-around, as his team is currently three wins shy of a winning campaign with plenty of time left in the season.
Still, despite the fact that it’ll likely end soon, the streak shows just how strenuous Gore’s struggle has been over the last few years.
If anyone on the San Francisco roster has earned a bit of me-time, a few moments in the limelight for an impressive personal achievement – it’s undoubtedly the team’s hard-working running back.
Gore is now second to only Perry on the 49ers all-time rushing list, trailing the NFL legend by a mere 255 yards.