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.?
It might be the second week of the season, but this game potentially could have significant ramifications. Last season, the Cardinals went 6-0 in the NFC West en route to the division title. The winner of today?s game is the only team with a chance to go unbeaten inside the division this season. The Seahawks opened last week with a 28-0 victory over the St. Louis Rams.
It?s clear the 49ers will have to experience more success on the ground this week to remain undefeated. The 49ers must run the ball against a team whose first priority is to stop the run. And they expect to see many of the same principles with which the Cardinals had success.
?We have to prepare for that and expect that,? 49ers guard David Baas said. ?Until we step up and slam it in their face, we can expect that in every single game.?
Said 49ers quarterback Shaun Hill, ?I?m sure there will be some copycats.?
Although the 49ers stayed with the run game for three quarters, they attempted 35 pass plays and ran the ball 25 times. On the 49ers? game-winning drive, they attempted 13 passes and just two run plays.
?We?ll make some adjustments, but we?re still going to be stubborn and we?re going to do what we do,? 49ers coach Mike Singletary said.
And Raye is certainly not backing down from his statement that he considers a balanced offense consisting of 60-percent run plays.