Sunday was all about Jim Harbaugh and Frank Gore.
In what proved to be the head coach’s final game with the San Francisco 49ers and what could be Gore’s last as well, the five-time pro bowler piled up 144 yards on 25 carries to lead the 49ers to a 20-17 win over the Arizona Cardinals. In the process, he surged past the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth time in 10 seasons. and also become just the 20th running back in NFL history to run for 11,000 yards.
“Wow,” said Harbaugh when asked about Gore during his post game press conference.
“What an unwavering competitor. Frank Gore will have another year of football. There’s no question about that. Tremendous season, tremendous character, football player. I mean, if there’s a football heaven, it’s awaiting Frank Gore.”
On Sunday afternoon at LEvi’s Stadium, the Cardinals didn’t waste any time getting on the board. Third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley marched the team right down the field before connecting with Michael Floyd on a 20-yard touchdown pass.
The 49ers immediately answered back courtesy of 76-yard touchdown catch from Anquan Boldin. With that catch, Boldin pushed past the 1,000-yard milestone for the second time in as many seasons with the 49ers. On the day, the wide receiver went for 81 yards on two receptions. In the second quarter, the 49ers jumped out to a 13-7 edge thanks to a couple of field goals by Phil Dawson.
However, the Cardinals made some noise in the closing minutes of the half. First, Arizona tacked on a 36-yard kick to tie the game at 10-10. With just over 30 seconds to go in the second quarter, Lindley found Floyd for another touchdown—this time a 41-yard strike, as the Cardinals took a 17-13 lead into the locker room. In the opening half, Lindley torched the 49ers’ patchwork secondary for 260 yards.
Late in the third quarter, the 49ers regained the lead thanks primarily to the running of Gore. The veteran running back broke off a 20-yard rush to surge past the 1,000 -yard mark and set up a three-yard touchdown catch for Bruce Miller, as the 49ers went up 20-17.
Craig Dahl sealed the victory by hauling in a pick in the closing minutes of the game. The safety the ran to the sidelines and handed the ball to Harbaugh.
After the game, the team and Harbaugh released statements indicated that the sides had “mutually agreed to part ways.”
“You do your best,” said Harbaugh as he stood at the podium at Levi’s Stadium for the final time, just moments before the statements were released.
“Some people may look at it as not doing enough, but you do your best and if your best isn’t appreciated, then you do your best anyway.”
During his four seasons with the 49ers, Harbaugh reeled off a 44-19-1 (.690) record. If it was up to Boldin, the coach wouldn’t be going anywhere.
“If it was my decision, he’d be here.”
General manager Trent Baalke and CEO Jed York will hold a press conference on Monday at 1pm to discuss the decision to move on from Harbaugh and the ensuing coaching search.
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