Frank Gore arrived in San Francisco six offensive coordinators ago. He's outlasted three coaches, and a few shakeups in the front office. And he'll probably still be on the team by the time the 49ers move into their new stadium.
Gore's talent and consistency are too often overlooked in a league with flashier runners and a team with bigger personalities. But 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh knows what Gore means to the team, ascribing his staying power to otherworldly attributes.
"My admiration is as high as my admiration can be," Harbaugh said of Gore. "But then every time I think he's 10 out of 10 in that regard he finds another wrung on the ladder.
"I think he is a mystical man. I think he sees things that we don't, I don't, we don't see."
We don't think Harbaugh is talking about Gore's vision on the field, which is one of his best traits. Gore is known to have one of the highest football IQs on the team, innately understanding pass protection concepts and how defenses are attacking him.
That's helped keep Gore effective even in his age-30 season. His rushing yardage and touchdown totals over the last three years are nearly identical. Watching him on Game Rewind, Gore still possesses great explosiveness and quickness through the hole. (Even if his long speed has diminished.)
While the quarterbacks get most of the attention Sunday, the team that is able to sustain drives on the ground has a great chance to win. Marshawn Lynch ran well in the first game between the two teams, while Gore was held to 16 yards on nine carries. Gore topped 110 yards in the rematch, including a huge run late in the game.