MINNEAPOLIS Running back Frank Gore, the central figure of the 49ers offense, provided his team with one carry Sunday.
Gore aggravated his right ankle injury on his first touch of the game, and the 49ers had to rely on rookie Glen Coffee for the remainder of the way in their crushing 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.
And Coffee was not satisfied with his performance.
I felt I shouldve been ready for the start of the game, said Coffee, who had just 16 yards on nine carries in the first half. He left the game briefly in the first quarter after getting the wind knocked out of him.
I didnt do what I needed to do in the first half. I have to be ready when the game starts.
Coffee finished with 54 yards on 25 carries, as the 49ers were unable to consistently get their run game going. After the 49ers took a 24-20 lead with eight minutes remaining, Coffee had minus-1 yard on five carries as they could not produce a first down on their final two drives.
Gore took part in limited practice during the week, but the 49ers believed he would be able to play effectively Sunday. Coach Mike Singletary said he was prepared to handle any situation. Gores injury is an ankle strain.
It is football, 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. You dont know who is going to get hurt. You hope that everybody stays healthy, but it happened. I have every bit of confidence in Glen Coffee going into the game. I did not blink.
Gores availability for next weeks game against the St. Louis Rams is in serious jeopardy. The 49ers are a team with playoff aspirations. The club might decide to rest Gore for a week or two to get him back to 100 percent.
The promise became reality Sunday for 49ers tight end Vernon Davis, who figured to thrive this season in Jimmy Rayes tight-ends friendly offense. Davis had a the best day of his four-year NFL career with seven receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns.