Posted: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013
By David Fucillo
Frank Gore made a very wise decision late in Sunday's win over the Seattle Seahawks. We break down the specific play the 49ers running back made that was a key to victory.
The San Francisco 49ers had several big plays in their Week 14 win over the Seattle Seahawks, but few were as big as Frank Gore's 51-yard run in the fourth quarter. The 49ers were trailing 16-14, and at their own 31. The offense had shown some signs of life during the game, but there were no guarantees they would be able to find the yards to at least get into field goal range.
Enter Frank Gore.
After the game, the coaches told the media that this was the first time they had broken out this particular running play. The play involved a multitude of blocking angles, and was meant to take advantage of the Seahawks aggressiveness. James put together this GIF on the replay from behind the offense.
Rather than break it down piece-by-piece, I recommend checking out Field Gulls' breakdown from earlier today. They also have a very informative GIF breaking down each aspect of the run. The comments section turns into complaints about Vernon Davis holding Richard Sherman, but that's to be expected. There was some holding there, but given how many calls were missed throughout the game, I don't think anybody can act too holier than thou about this particular one.
The run itself was great, but I wanted to point to something even bigger about it. At the end of the run, Frank Gore dropped to the ground rather than go out of bounds.
There was 4:11 left on the clock when he hit the dirt, and I have to assume he recognized the 49ers would want to run time off the clock. I'm a little surprised he didn't cut straight up field after blowing past Earl Thomas, but whatever the case, the decision to drop to the ground was a difference-maker. The 49ers grabbed one more first down on a Colin Kaepernick scramble, and after the field goal and ensuing kickoff, the Seahawks had 26 seconds of time with which to work.
There has been some discussion about whether or not Pete Carroll should have instructed his defense to let Gore score on one of the ensuing runs after the Kaepernick first down. Advanced NFL Stats said the Seahawks should have attempted to give up the score. It would have given them significantly more time with which to work.
That's all well and good, but they ignore the conclusion of Gore's 51-yard run shortly before. Given that he was wise enough to go down in that situation, it seems almost a no-brainer that he would drop to the ground before the goal line in the later situation. Frank Gore continues to show why he's one of the smartest players out there.