Frank Gore found the end zone twice on Monday night.
The Pro Bowl running back picked up the tough yards on the ground, running lower and more powerfully than just about anyone could -- as when he bulled forward for a 4-yard gain on second-and-4. He flashed speed as a receiver in the open field, as when he caught a pass in stride and outraced the defense for a 12-yard touchdown. He picked up the blitz when needed as a blocker, helping Alex Smith make plays with his arm. And when the 49ers needed a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game late, Gore took the handoff and scored the TD on second-and-goal from the New Orleans 7.
The threat of Gore's running was everything for Smith and the 49ers' offense during their last-second 25-22 defeat at Candlestick Park. Gore finished with 20 carries for 112 yards. He also led the 49ers with seven receptions.
Running behind a powerful offensive line, Gore sometimes found huge openings in the Saints' defense. But he also gained tough yardage when there wasn't much room at all. His tough running gave the 49ers an edge on offense.
Gore broke Joe Perry's franchise record with his 21st 100-yard rushing game.
"There’s an energy in the huddle when we’re getting back and we’re rolling, and we’re running the ball like that," Smith said. "We’re making throws. It’s just a different energy, a different tempo."