SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers have found the offensive balance that helped the team reach the NFC championship game in each of the past three seasons.
The run game struggled in the first part of September, culminating with Frank Gore gaining 10 yards on six carries in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
Now the offensive line is rounding into form and Gore is running as well as he has in recent memory, gaining over 100 yards in each of the past two games, both victories.
“Frank is being Frank,” 49ers center Daniel Kilgore said. “You give him the ball; what could go wrong? He's the same person since I came in here my rookie year. He hasn't lost a step.”
Kilgore, who is in his fourth season with the 49ers, and tackle Jonathan Martin are in their first year starting with San Francisco.
The 49ers started the same offensive linemen for all 16 regular-season games last year.
Kilgore took over from Jonathan Goodwin, who signed with New Orleans in free agency, and Martin is in for the injured Anthony Davis. Alex Boone, a holdout for most of training camp, Joe Staley and Mike Iupati are the holdovers.
“We're getting better,” Kilgore said. “We're getting better through practice every week and we're able to execute.”
In their three wins, the 49ers have rushed for a combined 516 yards and passed for 582 yards. In their two losses, it is 209 yards rushing and 468 yards passing.
Gore's top three rushing games have occurred in San Francisco's wins, including Sunday's 107-yard performance in the 49ers' 22-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
“You don't think you have a hole for him but then he finds one,” Kilgore said. “It might be six inches but he'll make it bigger. We try to get him as much room as possible for him, to make it easier for him to make things happen.”
NOTES: 49ers kicker Phil Dawson learned he was named special teams player of the week from his two sons, who live in Texas. “They're into fantasy football, so they follow everything,” Dawson said. The 16-year veteran kicked five field goals, connecting from 52 and 55 yards, though his biggest kick may have been for a touchback with 2:12 remaining in the game. “They tell me where to kick it and I let it go,” he said. . S Craig Dahl played it safe when asked about the upcoming NL championship series between the Giants and Cardinals, which opens this weekend in St. Louis, corresponding with the 49ers' trip to play the Rams on Monday night. “It's great for the fans in both areas,” said Dahl, who spent the 2012 season with the Rams. “The Giants are a great organization and the Cardinals have a historic organization. It's going to be a great matchup.” . The 49ers signed S Bubba Ventrone to a one-year deal and waived WR Kassim Osgood to make room for him. Ventrone had 15 special teams tackles and recovered a punt for the 49ers last year.