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Grant Cohn: 49ers flaws were exposed Sunday and the rest of the league was watching

  • Frank Gore seems to be missing burst that made him one of football's best runners. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

The Week 1 win against the Packers masked issues on the 49ers, but the Seahawks just tore off the mask. What do we see?

The offense is worse than it was last season. Let's start there.

They're missing key players: Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Delanie Walker and Frank Gore. Yes, Gore is missing. More on him later.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks


Crabtree and Manningham may or may not come back. They're recovering from serious injuries and we don't know if they can be effective this season.

Delanie Walker, a key receiver and blocker the past two seasons, is not coming back. He's a Titan. The 49ers replaced him with a rookie, second-round pick Vance McDonald who is not a good blocker yet and has caught just two passes in two games.

And then there is Gore. He may never come back even though he's still a 49er.

His legs are gone. They no longer have the snap or explosion or whatever you want to call the thing a running back's legs need.

Maybe he's still tired from the playoffs. As you get older, it takes longer for your legs to come back. Maybe he's trying to compensate in the weight room by doing more explosive exercises and only further fatiguing himself and ending up with dead legs. Whatever it may be, he doesn't seem to be able to explode through tight holes or bounce runs outside this season.

Bad combo.

He averaged 2.6 yards after contact per carry the past two seasons according to Pro Football Focus. He's averaging just 1.5 yards after contact per carry through two games this season. He may or may not be able to get his legs going periodically, but definitely not consistently.

To get the running game going, Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman need to get clever. The pistol isn't working. Gore keeps getting hit in the backfield. Runs from the pistol don't hit the line of scrimmage as quickly as runs from under center.

In 2011 and 2012, the 49ers' offensive line dominated defenses on trap plays and power off-tackle runs. Old-school plays. The 49ers hardly have run any of those plays this season. That needs to change right now.

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