Tough sledding: Eight not enough for Gore

November, 3, 2011
11/03/11
10:00
AM ET
Not that Frank Gore's candidacy for MVP needs defending, but just in case: The San Francisco 49ers' running back has gained 28.6 percent of his rushing yards against eight or more defenders in the box.

That's the highest percentage among all players with at least 400 yards rushing this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

I put together the chart below after Lotharun2 asked in the comments section of an earlier item where Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy ranked in yards against these stacked defenses.

McCoy has 17 carries for 72 yards against eight or more defenders in the box. That works out to a healthy 4.2-yard average. But with a dynamic quarterback and playmakers on the perimeter, the Eagles make it tougher for defenses to load up against the run. In my view, that explains why McCoy has gained a relatively low percentage of his runs against eight or more in the box.

The 49ers prefer heavier personnel groupings featuring two tight ends. They have enough speed at tight end to enjoy flexibility from these groupings, but the team has not consistently put an emphasis on downfield strikes.

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