The San Francisco 49ers managed just 10 points in a loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday and the team's struggles on the offensive side of the ball are rapidly reaching a boil. However, with many fans pointing at offensive coordinator Greg Roman as the reason for the lack of production, players on the team, including running back Frank Gore, defended the coach after the loss.
Gore carried the ball just 14 times on Sunday for 49 yards against a Rams defense that ranks among the NFL's worst at stopping the run. Instead, the 49ers elected to go with a pass-oriented attack that resulted in eight sacks of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who finished the day 22-of-33 passing for 237 yards, but lost two fumbles.
After the loss, Gore told Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area that it's the 49ers players who have to do better if the team hopes to turn things around in the second half of the season:
"(We) just got to make our mind up, do what we feel we're good at and just go do it," Gore said. "I still think we have a great coordinator. I still believe in our coordinator. He's been successful since he got here.
"As players, we just got to look at ourselves in the mirror. And whenever he makes a call, we got to go do it. I don't want to put it on him. It's also us. We're out there playing. I feel he put us in good situations. We're just too up and down."
Offensive tackle Joe Staley echoed the sentiment and pointed at "dumb" things like penalties, missed blocks and poor techniques that have contributed to the lack of scoring.
While the 49ers are unwilling to blame the play-calling, Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis told Sports Illustrated's Peter King that the San Francisco offense was predictable in the final minutes, including a sneak attempt by Colin Kaepernick that was ultimately fumbled across the goal line:
"The whole play was surprising. The play before, they go play-action and don't give it to Gore. Then on the last play, they don't give to Gore either. But I could sense when they got on the ball they were probably going to sneak it. You could just tell in their mannerisms, their body language, the formation."
Even in three consecutive trips to the NFC Championship, the 49ers never had a top-10 offense, with the defense leading the way. The team was consistently in the upper half of the league in scoring, though. This year, the 49ers rank 23rd in points scored.