After the game against the Seahawks, I wrote in my grades that Frank Gore’s 51-yard run was a weak-side lead, but it had a twist.
The 49ers had two tight ends and two running backs on the field. Vance McDonald lined up next to Vernon Davis on the right side of the 49ers’ formation, and then McDonald motioned to the left. When McDonald has motioned in this way from this personnel grouping this season, the 49ers have run a weak-side lead play where the back-side guard pulls and leads Gore through the hole between McDonald and the play-side offensive tackle. But that’s not what happened on Gore’s 51-yard run, a play the 49ers never have run before. They call it “97 G-rub.”
Staley blocked down on Red Bryant, the defensive end. Adam Snyder, the left guard, trapped and kicked out the rushing linebacker on the offense’s left side, Bruce Irvin, creating a super highway between Snyder and Staley.
This play developed much quicker than the typical weak-side lead the 49ers run where the back-side guard has to run all the way to the other side of the formation and turn the corner to lead the tailback through the hole. Snyder only had to take a couple of steps to clear Irvin out of the way and then, almost instantly, McDonald, Bruce Miller and Alex Boone were at the “second level” blocking linebackers and the strong safety.
This was a great play design by the 49ers, a clever twist on the weak-side lead look they’ve showed all season.