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49ers' ground game needs to improve vs. Seahawks

SAN FRANCISCO ? The 49ers did not accomplish offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye?s goal of running the ball 60 percent of the time in the season opener.

Not that anyone was complaining. After all, the 49ers had one of their worst rushing games in club history, and they still accomplished a road victory against the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.

?If you look at the statistics on offense, it was pretty ordinary,? first-year Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora said of the 49ers? 20-16 win a week ago. ?But when they needed to make a play, they made a play. And that?s what good football teams do.?

Even in defeat, the Cardinals might have created the template for how to defend the 49ers and running back Frank Gore this season.

The Cardinals held Gore to 30 yards on 22 carries ? the fewest yards of his career when getting the ball at least 15 times. The 49ers head into their Week 2 game against the Seahawks today at Candlestick Park ranked last in the league in rushing.

And that is not what Raye expected ? especially in a winning effort.

The Cardinals regularly had eight defenders close to the line of scrimmage to stop the run, and unblocked defenders blew up 10 running plays for no gain or yardage losses.

?What was alarming, or what we didn?t anticipate, was that we would cut people loose and have negative runs,? he said. ?That was more surprising than what they did defensively.?

The 49ers are clearly a run-first team, and Mora spent the lead-up to the game preparing his defense for a physical confrontation.

?It?s more of a mind-set than scheme,? Mora said. ?Our guys understand the challenge. They?ve played Frank Gore many, many times, and they know what he?s all about and they have tremendous respect for him.?


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