|Niners long-woeful offense finally moving|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 15 September 2008 13:53|
Two games into Mike Martz's first year in charge of that offense, Gore was excited to show up to work on a Monday morning. The 49ers' confidence in their new offensive coordinator showed up Sunday in Seattle, where the running back and his teammates produced 365 total yards in a 33-30 overtime victory over the longtime NFC West champions.
``It's a whole lot different now,'' said Gore, who had 99 total yards against a defense designed to contain him. ``Having a leader like Martz, knowing his past and knowing he's won games, it just makes me want to play even harder. You just want to let him know you're good.''
The 49ers' 365 yards against the Seahawks wouldn't be remarkable for many teams, and San Francisco is only 14th in the NFL in total offense. But those numbers are a revolution in Ninerland.
San Francisco managed to gain more than 350 yards just once in 2007 - and needed several minutes of overtime at Arizona to do it - during a season in which the 49ers finished 32nd in total points, total yards, touchdowns, first downs and yards passing.
The Niners' personnel revamping already is paying off, with Isaac Bruce's four catches for 153 yards against Seattle attracting the most attention. Bryant Johnson also caught a TD pass, and Gore rushed for a score as he settles into an offense in which he might not have to be the team's leader in receptions, as he has been the past two years.
``I knew they were going to come in and try to stop me,'' Gore said of the Seahawks' defense. ``I was happy to see our receivers make plays down the field so now I can go crazy again.''
After falling behind 14-0 early and trailing in every quarter, San Francisco won in OT when Joe Nedney got redemption for his miss at the regulation whistle with a 40-yard field goal.
The 49ers hadn't rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to win since their famed comeback victory over the New York Giants in the January 2003 playoffs. That was coach Steve Mariucci's last win with San Francisco, and the final good moment before a precipitous decline of a franchise that now has five straight losing seasons after winning five Super Bowls seemingly decades ago.
on the road since Dec. 14, 2003, when Jeff Garcia did it.
But the 49ers are on pace to surpass another awful statistic from last season. After their quarterbacks were sacked a league-high 55 times in 2007, O'Sullivan already has been sacked 12 times in two games, a 96-sack pace.
``I think his durability is good, but you don't want your quarterback taking hits,'' coach Mike Nolan said. ``There were a couple of hits that I thought some guys might get fined about. That really concerned me more than anything else.''
Such punishment is no surprise in a Martz offense in which quarterbacks often take a beating. Jon Kitna, who leads the Lions into Candlestick Park on Sunday, probably still has bruises from the 54 sacks absorbed by Detroit's quarterbacks last year when Martz was in charge.
Martz and Nolan still have 14 games to figure out how to keep O'Sullivan safer, and Nolan is thrilled with the offense's quick adjustment to Martz's schemes.
``He's got a great command presence with the players,'' said Nolan, who moved quickly to hire Martz after learning he would keep his own job this season. ``They've got a lot of belief in what he does. They know that if they just do what he says, they've got a great chance to get the ball.''