On Monday night, on the Niners' first play from scrimmage, Frank Gore(notes) ran for 25 yards. And then he gained 15 on his next carry. Gore appeared to headed for an absolutely huge game against the Cardinals' zombified defense — like maybe a 200-yard, multi-touchdown sort of game.
But then he went to the locker room with a hip injury after his team's opening drive. Gore's night ended in the first quarter after five carries and 52 yards. He reportedly suffered a fractured right hip, an injury that's expected to end his season.
Brutal news for the Niners, obviously. Gore leads the team in both receptions (46) and rushing yards (853). He'll finish with 1,305 total yards in just 11 games.
San Francisco's running game kept rolling at Arizona, to no one's surprise. The Niners rushed for 261 yards on 47 attempts, as their offensive line absolutely mauled the opposition. The Cardinals were so bad, in fact, that it was almost tough to evaluate the performance of Gore's replacements, Brian Westbrook(notes) and Anthony Dixon(notes). Both backs delivered useful fantasy lines, and both found the end zone. So did Garrison Hearst, Charlie Garner, Ricky Watters, Earl Cooper, and Delvin Williams — it was just a very nice night to be a Niners back, old or new.
Westbrook ultimately led the Niners in rushing yards with 136 on 23 carries. He's available in 80 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he'll now presumably have a featured role. Next week's match-up is rough (at Green Bay), but the remaining schedule isn't too intimidating: vs. SEA, at SD, at STL, vs. ARI. Add as needed.
Keep Dixon in mind, too. The rookie is owned in just two percent of Yahoo! leagues, and Westbrook of course is a 31-year-old, not known for his durability.
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