The demise of Frank Gore’s starting role may have been greatly exaggerated.
That was a story line in the run-up to Sunday’s game after rookie Carlos Hyde averaged 7.1 yards a carry and scored a touchdown in Week 1 against the Cowboys while 31-year-old Gore averaged only 3.9 yards per run.
On Sunday, however, it was Gore who was running on young legs.
He gained 63 yards on Sunday, 50 of which came in the first half before the game started to slip away from the 49ers and they had to rely on the pass.
That’s also not counting a 54-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter that was wiped away by a questionable holding penalty against Anquan Boldin. If it had stood, it would have been Gore’s longest run since 2011 when Gore had a 55-yard run against the Lions.
“Fluke call,” Boldin said. “Maybe he saw another 81 out there. I didn’t even hold the guy. I don’t know how you can call that (stuff).”
Said Gore: “We jumped out like we wanted to start out. We started fast. But we have to finish. … We laid off as a team.”
Meanwhile, Hyde found his second NFL game more difficult than the first. He rushed four times but gained zero yards.
The play in question came in the second quarter when Kaepernick targeted Stevie Johnson on a slant pattern. Johnson, however, couldn’t catch up to the pass and it ended up in the hands of Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.
The replay, however, showed Tillman pinned the ball against the grass for an instant, making it an incompletion. Meanwhile, Jim Harbaugh is 1-0 in replay challenges this year after he questioned a third-down catch by Bears tight end Martellus Bennett in the second quarter that turned out to be a juggling incompletion. Harbaugh and the 49ers were 3-9 on challenges last year.
Lynch, who is 6-6, 270 pounds, drove back the Chicago blocker opposite him, 205-pound Shaun Draughn, and got his hand up to block Patrick O’Donnell’s kick. The ball went out of bounds at the Chicago 8-yard-line, and three plays later Kaepernick hit Michael Crabtree for a short touchdown.
Receiver Kassim Osgood was the last 49er to have blocked a punt, having done so Dec. 8 against Seattle.
• Tank Carradine, the 40th overall pick in last year’s draft, was in uniform for the first time in his career. Carradine saw some action at defensive end but was not credited with a tackle.
• Rookie receiver Bruce Ellington didn’t line up as a running back, but he did perform a fake handoff on a fly sweep after lining up in the slot position. Instead, Kaepernick gave the ball to Gore, who picked up eight yards.
• Tight end Vance McDonald suffered a right knee injury in the second quarter but returned to the game in the second half. Still, the injury gave No. 3 tight end Derek Carrier more opportunities, and he finished with three catches for 41 yards, which ranked second on the team.
• Joe Staley started his 100th game, becoming the 20th 49ers offensive lineman in franchise history to have played in 100-or-more games.