ST. LOUIS (FootballStL) -- If there is one thing certain about Sunday’s game against the 49ers it would be that the Rams will see a lot of Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter.
Gore and the 49ers are tops in the NFL this season averaging 168.6 yards per game on the ground. It will be a tough task for a Rams defense that allows 106.3 rushing yards per game.
“This guy is as productive as there is in the league right now, and there is a reason,” Rams assistant head coach Dave McGinnis said. “Jim Harbaugh believes in running the football and he believes in giving it to a back that will take it and is willing to pound it in there, and they look for explosive plays out of their run game.”
The hard-nosed offensive plan for the 49ers has worked in the two seasons that Harbaugh has been at the helm in San Francisco. The team has posted an 8-0 record, including 3-0 this season, under Harbaugh when the team has a 100-yard rusher.
The 29-year-old Gore has been kept fresh this season with the help of the younger Hunter, who is in his second season. Hunter has averaged five yards per carry on 60 attempts this season to provide the offense with a relentless ground game.
“Those guys really set the tone for us. I think they really complement each other coming in and feeding off one another,” 49ers quarterback Alex Smith said. “Obviously, it starts with our guys up front. I think they all kind of work together, run-game wise. But no question, when you can be balanced you give the defense a lot to think about.”
To put numbers to what Smith said, the 49ers have gained four or more yards on 132 of 229 plays on first down which ranks first in the NFL. That is quite the tone-setting often done by the rushing game.