Improved 49ers aren’t satisfied with 2-0

Today, the 49ers were better than they were a week ago. They are 2-0, heading into next week’s game against the Vikings.


“This league is about constant improvements,” 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill said. “If we go out there next week and play like we did the first two games, it won’t be good.”


Frank Gore.jpgRunning back Frank Gore scored on touchdown runs of 79 and 80 yards in the 49ers’ 23-10 victory today over the Seattle Seahawks at Candlestick Park. He joined the select company of of Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, as the only other player in league history with two touchdown runs of at least 75 yards in the same game. Gore finished with 207 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.


This came a week after the 49ers gained just 21 yards rushing in a Week 1 win over the Arizona Cardinals. Certainly, improvements were made in Week 2.


“Coach (Mike) Singletary challenged the offensive linemen all week,” Gore said. “He told them, ‘You all need to get him the season, and I’m telling you that he’ll get the job done.'”


Said center Eric Heitmann, “This week we held them at the line of scrimmage and Frank could make the cutback. Last week, those guys (Cardinals) were penetrating so there was no cutback lane for Frank. He made some awesome runs. You don’t get to see that too often in the NFL. We are extremely fortunate to have a guy like that in the backfield.”


The 49ers rolled up 379 yards of total offense with 256 of it coming on the ground.


“We just executed a lot better,” 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said. “It came down to us as a whole, just getting the job done.”


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The 49ers took sole possession of first place in the NFC West – just like the old days – on a day the current administration made former owner Eddie DeBartolo the first inductee into the team’s Hall of Fame.


DeBartolo was honored at halftime, after the Seahawks had struggled back to within three points, 13-10, on backup quarterback Seneca Wallace’s 1-yard scoring pass to running back Julius Jones. Wallace entered the game on that play after 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis knocked quarterback Matt Hasselbeck out of the game with a ribs injury. But the 49ers did not wait long to regain momentum, as Gore blasted 80 yards for a TD on the first play of the second half.


“It’s huge to win those games against division opponents,” Hill said.


The 49ers are 2-0 for the first time since 2007, when they promptly went into an eight-game tailspin. The 49ers have not been 3-0 since 1998. The 49ers travel to face the unbeaten Minnesota Vikings next week.


“We have to do a better job overall cleaning it up so we can compete with anyone,” Singletary said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not satisfied with being 1-0, 2-0. We want to be a team that really makes a difference in this year’s playoffs, championships, whatever.


“The only thing we know is that we’re striving to be a good football team. The only thing we know is that we can run the ball when we put our minds to it and our offensive line has leverage to do that.”


When asked if the 49ers should be taken seriously, Singletary said, “Well, you know what? If they’re not taking us seriously, that’s OK. They can keep doing that. We’re going to continue to take ourselves seriously.”


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Linebacker Patrick Willis delivered a punishing hit to Seattle quarterback Matt Hasslebeck’s ribs to knock him out of the game near the end of the first half. Willis said his only intention was to keep Hasselbeck from getting into the end zone.


“I just know what it wasn’t an illegal hit,” Willis said of his punishing blow to Hasselbeck’s ribs that knocked him out of the game. “I knew that he was hurting a little bit. I don’t know what his (situation) is now, but I hope that he’s OK.


“He’s all for helping his team, and at the end of the day, you’re going to do what you can to help your team win.”


Seahawks coach Jim Mora said X-rays were negative. Hasselbeck was scheduled to fly back to Seattle with his teammates. Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace played the entire second half.


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Fullback Moran Norris had a good game as a blocker, and he also got to touch the ball. Norris, a nine-year veteran, had a career-long 15-yard run. He also caught three passes for 17 yards, including a crucial 11-yard catch on a third-and-1 from the 49ers’ own 1-yard line in the third quarter.


“It felt good to be involved in the offense,” Norris said. “(Offensive coordinator) Jimmy Raye calls the plays, and I just try to go out there and execute. We had the plays in, and he dialed them up, so it worked out for the best.”


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Third-year player Dashon Goldson was elevated into the starting lineup in the offseason for his playmaking ability. He was promoted to replace Mark Roman, who had gone more than two full seasons without an interception at free safety. Goldson recorded his first career interception Sunday after hauling in a pass Nate Clements deflected.


“I was going for the hit until I saw the ball tipped,” Goldson said.


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RB Frank Gore (right ankle sprain), RB Glen Coffee (right hip pointer), LB Marques Harris (right toe contusion) and David Baas (right ankle sprain) reported injuries that are not expected to keep them out of any action. Gore underwent X-rays and said his ankle felt fine. This is not the same ankle that Gore injured in Week 14 last season against the New York Jets.


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Check here a little later this evening for my player-by-player report. We’ll also take a closer look at Gore’s two TD runs.


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