Indianapolis Colts

Frank Gore opens up on time with 49ers, 'I never wanted to leave'

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USATSI

Frank Gore opens up on time with 49ers, 'I never wanted to leave'

Frank Gore, at 34 years old, has one game left in his 13th season in the NFL. He becomes an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year. 

After spending the first 10 years of his career with the 49ers, the running back has kept on gaining yards on the ground for the Colts over the past three seasons, totaling 861 this year.

On Christmas, Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback published a long sit-down conversation with Gore where the two talked about his college days at Miami, falling in the draft with a bag full of injuries, his time with the 49ers, how he has stayed productive in his later years, and much more. Gore said the following about the 49ers: 

When [Jim] Harbaugh came to the Niners [in 2011], everything changed. His attitude basically was, We don’t give a F about anyone. Players, we loved that. Scot McCloughan basically built that team [as personnel director/GM for five years, starting in 2005], and it was a team of tough MF-ers. I respect coach Harbaugh a lot. We had a bunch of guys who loved football. Like at Miami.

[In 2011], we started 2-1 and went to Philly to play the Dream Team. I didn’t even know I’d play that game. I hurt my ankle against Cincinnati [the previous week] and I couldn’t practice. I rehabbed, rehabbed, rehabbed. I went out there to see if I could go before the game. I got in the game, but it was a struggle. Down 17-3 at halftime, I think. Me and Patrick Willis looking around, trying to figure out what would happen. We’re in trouble, man. Coach Harbaugh didn’t think it was trouble. He just said, We gotta make adjustments. We will make adjustments. Strike fast. Change things up. We will win this game. So we went out there, scored right away. I was making some big runs. I made the winning run.

We go on in ’13 to beat Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game and make the Super Bowl. Best years of my life. I loved that team. Harbaugh, man, straightforward guy. If he thought you were full of s---, he’d tell you, and you’re not going to be on his team.

I have loved it here [Indianapolis]. I miss San Francisco. I never wanted to leave.

The 49ers selected Gore No. 65 overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. Five other running backs were picked ahead of him that year. In 10 years with 49ers, Gore rushed for 11,073 yards on 2,442 carries to average 4.5 yards per carried. He totaled 75 touchdowns with the 49ers. 

Over his 13-year career, Gore has rushed for 13,926 yards, good for fifth all time. 

Snow is the only thing making 2017 football bearable

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AP

Snow is the only thing making 2017 football bearable

Of all the criticisms about football in 2017, the one that has been least covered is the scandalous lack of snow games.

The two best games of the weekend, and this is not disputable, were Army-Navy and Indianapolis-Buffalo, a week after a glorious Grey Cup. Those were quality games playing in gloriously awful weather, and every city with a domed stadium wept knowing it will never know that level of joy.

Then again, both the Raiders and 49ers will be home this weekend, and the weather will be disgustingly clear here as well. In fact, other than Sault Ste. Marie, MI, and Caribou, ME, there isn’t supposed to be any snow at all in the 48 this weekend.

So the question we take into Week 15, and the start of the bowl season Saturday, is “Why bother?”

Sure there are big games – the Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City, New England at Pittsburgh, the Los Angeles Rams at Seattle and Green Bay at Carolina, not to mention the five bowl games on Saturday (Boise State-Oregon at the Vegas Bowl is the best) – but the average temperature for the 15 non-domed cities is a barely brisk 48 degrees, with some possibly rain in Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and (big surprise here) Seattle.

And that’s not good enough. Not nearly. Snow is, frankly, the only thing making 2017 football bearable at all, and if Roger Goodell wanted to earn his newfound money, he'd be up seeding clouds this weekend and through the end of the season.

The Indy-Buffalo game was the best snow game of the century, easily beating the Tuck Game in 2002 and barely edging Lions-Eagles in 2013. The metric: inches of snow above shoe tops. LeSean McCoy, who also starred in the 2013 game (219 and two scores), won Sunday’s with 156 and the game-winner in overtime, and the snow Sunday was high-ankle-sprain/lower calves deep. McCoy had more trouble lifting his legs out of the snowbanks than he did evading Colts.

Now that’s quality entertainment, the kind which we need more of between now and the start of what we suspect will be a dismally clement postseason, meteorologically speaking.

So yes, in case you were wondering, this is just more proof that there is actually global warming. It is almost certainly the only good thing about global warming. But there still aren’t enough great snow games, unless we get better forecasts from The Weather Channel. And by better, we mean worse.

You know, like damned near everything else these days.

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

Three things you need to know from 49ers' 26-23 overtime loss to Colts

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three things you need to know about the 49ers’ 26-23 loss to the Colts in Week 5 on Sunday:

1. Close is not good enough
The 49ers have not figured out this whole winning thing. Kyle Shanahan’s team is 0-5. After a blowout loss in Week 1, the 49ers have dropped their past four games by a total of 11 points.

The 49ers lost in overtime for the second week in a row. Trailing by 14 points at the midpoint of the fourth quarter, the fact the 49ers forced overtime against Indianapolis was a minor miracle.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer could not get things going until the final eight minutes of the fourth quarter. He finished with a more-than-respectable stat line, completing 29 of 46 pass attempts for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

But when the 49ers had a chance to win the game in overtime, they could not capitalize.

The defense kept the team in the game for much of the day, including Ray-Ray Armstrong’s interception at the goal line to open overtime. But the defense did not get the big stop when it was needed. Colts running back Marlon Mack got around the corner on a 35-yard run in overtime to set up the winning field goal.

In short, the 49ers have found a way to lose every week. And things are not going to be getting any easier. The 49ers’ upcoming games are at Washington, vs. Dallas, at Philadelphia and vs. Arizona.

2. Is Bowman getting phased out?
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman has not been a role player since his first season in the NFL. And he does not appear ready to accept that role now after being named first-team All-Pro selection in all four of his full NFL seasons. But Bowman appears to have slowed down dramatically, and the coaching staff has determined he is a liability in coverage.

The 49ers’ coaching staff decided the defense could be better if Bowman is given some time to rest during the course of a game, too. Brock Coyle came off the sideline to play at least three defensive series on Sunday.

“They’re doing what they want to do, and . . . I don’t know. I don’t like it. Nobody likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player,” Bowman said.

“They told me. But it’s hard to do that in the midst of a tough game. No player likes being taken out.”

We could be seeing the end of Bowman with the 49ers. He is scheduled to make $9.45 million next season in salary and bonuses, and the 49ers certainly are not going to pay that kind of money to a linebacker whose playing time is being cut back.

3. Kittle emerges in fourth
Looking for a bright spot? Rookie tight end George Kittle came through with a big fourth quarter to help the 49ers pull even and force overtime.

Kittle caught seven passes for 83 yards to exceed by 1 yard his total receiving output of the first four games combined. And Kittle came through in the clutch, too.

Hoyer looked for him when it mattered, and Kittle came through. He kept the late-fourth-quarter drive alive with a 19-yard reception on a fourth-and-1 play. Then, on a fourth-and-goal play from the 5 with time running out in regulation, Kittle caught a short pass and powered his way into the end zone with Colts rookie safety Malik Hooker on his back.