Niners need Gore to set up Troy Smith

November, 29, 2010
When the San Francisco 49ers hit the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football (ESPN, 8:30 ET), look for them to try to establish their run game on the edges.

Frank Gore has been a productive rusher outside the tackles this season, picking up more than five yards per rush attempt.

The Cardinals have struggled containing running backs outside the tackles, ranking in the bottom third of the league in yards per rush, rushes per first down and touchdowns.

And if the Niners pound the ball on the ground early on, look for QB Troy Smith to work in the play-action pass. He’s been much more effective taking advantage of the running game than Alex Smith, completing 70 percent of his play action passes at 14.3 yards per attempt.

Alex Smith struggled with play action, completing less than half of his passes and averaging only 6.4 yards per pass attempt.



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