In the 23 full games Gore has played since 2009, he’s had 426 of the 466 carries given to 49ers running backs, or 91.4 percent. Is that a lot? Well, it’s a higher percentage than Kansas City’s Larry Johnson had in 2006 when he set the NFL record for carries. Johnson had 416 of the 470 carries given to Chiefs running backs, or 88.5 percent.
San Francisco quarterbacks had a whopping 113.8 rating in 2010 when they targeted Vernon Davis, who had a particularly good rapport with Alex Smith (124.0 rating).
To illustrate his strategy today in a conversation with the team’s beat writers in a corridor of Lucas Oil Stadium, Harbaugh, as if playing poker, put an imaginary hand of cards close to his mouth and laughed, “It will be like on the poker channel,” he said. “… Put the shades on. Pull the cap down. Kind of take that approach this year.”
Brian Westbrook, a free-agent-to-be, clearly wants to avoid a repeat of his first season in San Francisco. If not for Frank Gore’s injury, Westbrook, a two-time Pro Bowler who ranks fourth in the NFL in yards from scrimmage since 2004, was on pace to become one of the most decorated sideline decorations in NFL history.
In the aftermath of today’s season-ending 38-7 over Arizona, the embattled Alex Smith addressed his uncertain future for the first time this season. And he didn’t dismiss a possible return to San Francisco.