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Greg Roman: 49ers don't want to wear out Frank Gore

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If you've sat next to a San Francisco 49ers fan for any game this season, you're likely to have heard "just give the ball to Frank" muttered or shouted more than once.

Frank Gore's carries have gone up the past two weeks -- 24 and 18, respectively -- since a low of six in a Week 3 loss. But the 31-year-old running back has carried the ball just 77 times for 365 yards through the first five weeks. It's the second-fewest carries through five games in Gore's career (in 2009, he had 65 but was dealing with an ankle injury).

The reduction in carries is something offensive coordinator Greg Roman said was planned entering the season.

"We don't want to just ride that stallion all day, every day," Roman said, per CSN Bay Area. "There's a point of diminishing returns at some point. That's almost true for any player at that position. Who gets hit more than running backs?"

Carlos Hyde has looked solid rushing for 132 yards this season, and the 49ers' staff has said on multiple occasions that they trust him in any situation.

The issue hasn't been how many snaps one back has gotten over the other; The question many 49ers fans have asked is why the team is going to the air with more regularity when the ground game is clearly working.

Both Gore and Hyde have a fantastic matchup Monday night against a St. Louis Rams run defense allowing 152.5 rushing yards per game (tied for 29th in the NFL) and has given up 21 running plays of 10-plus yards (tied for most in the league).

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