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49ers' run-heavy offense sustainable if pieces fall into place

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Teams that run the ball a lot generally win those games.

Teams that are winning games generally run the ball a lot.

The 49ers have run the ball 44 and 42 times in back-to-back games, which – all things considered – is the reason they experienced consecutive victories for the first time since Weeks 1 and 2.

It took until the midpoint of the season for the 49ers to get their idea of an all-around game going.

During their Super Bowl season of 2019, the 49ers had 40 or more rushing attempts in four consecutive victories, starting in Week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Even when that string was stopped, the 49ers still had 39 and 38 rushes against Washington and Carolina as part of an eight-game winning streak to open the season.

“It’s any football team that rushes for 40 times I think you're going to have a good day offensively,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “We've done it in the past. It's worked for us well.

“Our offense seems to adapt to week-to-week and whatever the defense is giving us, we try to take advantage of that.”


The question of the week is whether it is sustainable for an offense to have 40 rushes or more every game.

The answer is yes, if . . .

--The running game is able to produce consistent yards with plays on the ground to pick up first downs or set up third-and-short situations;

--The passing game is able to regularly able to convert on third downs;

--The offense does not give away possessions with turnovers;

--The defense takes the ball away to limit the number of plays for the opposition.

The 49ers’ crucial Week 12 game would appear to set up well for the formula that worked for the 49ers the past two games against the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars.

The Minnesota Vikings come to Levi’s Stadium on Sunday currently in the No. 6 spot in the NFC playoff race. The Vikings and 49ers both own 5-5 records. The 49ers are situated as the seventh and final seed.

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The 49ers own the league’s No. 8 rushing attack with 123.2 yards per game. Minnesota’s run defense is its weakness. The Vikings rank 31st in the league, allowing 4.76 yards per rushing attempt.

The Vikings’ run defense stats are not skewed, either.

Minnesota has given up just three runs of more than 20 yards and no rushes of 40 yards or more on the season.

The Vikings simply have yielded consistent yards on the ground, which is similar to how the 49ers’ offense chipped away against the Rams and Jaguars.

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