Does Smith's passing take defensive focus off Gore?

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Does Smith's passing take defensive focus off Gore?

SANTA CLARA -- The New Orleans Saints stacked the line of scrimmage on Saturday. And they haven't been alone with that defensive approach against the 49ers.Some teams this season have dared the 49ers to put the ball in quarterback Alex Smith's hands to win the game."How did that work out for them?" 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman asked following the 49ers' 36-32 victory Saturday over the New Orleans Saints -- a game in which Smith threw for 299 yards.
Smith attempted 42 passes, completing 24, and was sacked four times against the Saints. Meanwhile, running backs Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter attempted just 13 and six rushes for 89 and 23 yards, respectively.REWIND: Divisional Playoff -- Saints vs. 49ers box score
So will Smith's impressive final four minutes on Saturday, during which time he led the 49ers on touchdown drives totaling 165 yards, do anything to change the mindsets of opposing defenses? And might it create more running room for Gore?"As long as Alex keeps doing what he's doing, we're going to be fine," Gore said. "We're a complete team. As long as we keep taking it one game at a time, one play at a time, we'll get there."RELATED: Alex Smith game logs
The next stop is a return game Sunday against the New York Giants in the NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park. The game figures to be played on a wet and muddy field. Gore, with a low center of gravity, good balance and a north-south approach, might be able to cope with the conditions.When the 49ers and Giants met Nov. 13, Gore was held without any yards on six attempts. He left the game late in the second quarter with a knee contusion.REWIND: Giants vs. 49ers -- Week 10 box score
In that game, which the 49ers won 27-20, the offenseturned to Smith, who completed 19 of 30 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown and one interception.The Giants run defense ranked 23rd in the NFL during the regular season in average per rush attempt at 4.5 yards. In the playoffs, New York stiffened against Atlanta's Michael Turner, allowing 41 yards rushing on 15 rushing attempts (2.7 average). Green Bay's leading rusher against the Giants was quarterback Aaron Rodgers with seven scrambles for 66 yards.

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former 49ers OL/DE Clay Matthews Sr dies at 88 years old

Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman/defensive end Clay Matthews Sr. passed away on Thursday, March 23rd at the age of 88. 

Matthews originally entered the NFL as a 25th round (247th overall) draft choice by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1949 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons with San Francisco (1950, 1953-55), appearing in 45 games and registering one interception. After spending his rookie season of 1950 with the 49ers, he went on to spend two years (1951-52) in the United States Army where he served in the Korean War.

A native of Charleston, SC, Matthews attended Georgia Tech where he played guard, tackle and end while earning All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1948. In 1949, Matthews was the All-Southeastern Conference heavyweight wrestling and boxing champion at Georgia Tech.

Matthews was the first of three generations to play in the National Football League. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the NFL. Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the first round (9th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft, Bruce was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 after 14 Pro Bowl and seven First-Team All-Pro selections. Clay Jr. was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 1st round (12th overall) in the 1978 draft and was a four-time Pro Bowl selection.

Three of Bruce’s sons, Jake, Kevin and Mike, and two of Clay Jr.’s sons, Clay III and Casey, either have spent time or currently play in the NFL. Clay III is currently a member of the Green Bay Packers and a six-time Pro Bowl selection at linebacker while Jake is currently an offensive lineman for the Atlanta Falcons after being selected in the first round (6th overall) by the team in 2014. 

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After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

After signing with Giants, Draughn pens long thank you to 49ers

Shaun Draughn is now a member of the New York Giants, but he won't ever forget his brief stint with the 49ers. The running back posted a long thank you to the organization and its fans on Thursday:

"I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community," Draughn posted on Instagram. "You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever.

"Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!!"

Draughn, 29, averaged 3.1 yards per carry over two seasons with the 49ers, totaling 459 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. 

I want to say thank you to the @49ers for giving my family and I a place to call home, a chance to be apart of an organization with rich history, class and a passion for family and community. You guys gave me my first EVER NFL start on November 8,2015 and I will cherish that moment and milestone forever. Thank you to all the support staff, cooks(man Ima miss those crispies in the morning lol Travis and the fellas) , custodians (my man Joe keep planting those spiritual seeds my brotha), equipment (Doc, Steve, Gilby, and the crew) trainers( Ferg, ryan, Laura) pastor Earl thank you so much for your time and pouring into us spiritually. Coaches(coach Tom Rathman thank you for having a high standard for your players and forcing me to get better at my craft) and to the Niner Faithful you guys are great and very passionate about your team you made this a great experience as well!! To my teammates I love y'all like brothas and thank you for welcoming me in with open arms and making it a pleasure to go to war with y'all no matter the record!! To the @nygiants I want to say thank you for allowing me to be apart of such a first class organization!! I am excited to go to work in the quest for #5 and to the Fans I can assure you, you will get my ABSOLUTE best and nothing less, put a stamp on it‼️‼️ thank you God for ALWAYS making a way!! #Proverbs3:5-6 #BigBlue #GMen

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