Frank Gore's locker runneth over when it comes to game balls. He has them on the top shelf, the middle shelf, in cardboard boxes stacked on the very top of his locker. But he doesn't have the ball he was carrying Sunday when he became the 49ers' all-time leading rusher for yards gained in the NFL.
Gore was one yard behind hall-of-famer Joe Perry in the second quarter when he took a handoff to the right side for two yards. "We were playing kind of sloppy, so I wasn't even worried about a rushing title, really," Gore said today. "I wasn't thinking about a rushing title. I was thinking about how to get going and try to get the win."
Gore finished with 73 rushing yards, a good day for the running back, but certainly not one of his best. Still, he also noted that the deep-passing game was on track in the second half as were three end-around runs to Kyle Williams (25 yards), to Ted Ginn (16 yards) and to Delanie Walker (14).
Gore said the opponents' focus on him and the inside running game contributed to those gains. "I love it," Gore said. "And if they keep wanting to play eight, nine linemen in the box, Alex will keep killing them. As long as we get the win, I'm (okay) with whatever happens - running, passing, as long as we win."
Gore said he doesn't want coaches to take things easy on him as the season comes to a close because he knows the 49ers' last four opponents won't be taking it easy on the 49ers. Three of the last four games will be on the road against division opponents who have no chance of winning the division.
The 49ers have been in their place. "When Arizona was winning like that, when they came here or they went there, we tried to beat them," Gore said. "I know they're going to play hard. We've just got to go and play ball."
Defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, the architect of perhaps the most important unit on the 49ers, just held court for an hour with reporters. Tomsula, who's easily the most entertaining coach I've covered, spoke about an array of topics from how he pushed for the team to draft and then re-sign Ray McDonald to the fun but self-policing style of the defensive line meeting room.
One thing that I didn't know until today is that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is the team's de facto outside linebackers coach. Tomsula often will have those players - Ahmad Brooks, Parys Haralson, Aldon Smith and Monte Simmons - in his group, but he said Fangio does a lot individually with the outside linebackers.
-- Matt Barrows