49ers Vs. Lions: Examining San Francisco's Strategic Ground Attack

The San Francisco 49ers are preparing for a battle on Sunday Night Football against the Detroit Lions. After going on the road to face the Lions in 2011, San Francisco will play host to Detroit in 2012. In their last meeting, the 49ers got the best of the Lions, handing them a 25-19 defeat at Ford Field.

The 49ers run game was very much a part of their game-plan to take down the Lions that day. They got creative and used tight end Delanie Walker in motion to chip the interior lineman. On two separate occasions, that play design allowed running back Frank Gore to break loose for big gains. Both runs setup crucial scores for the Niners in that game.

The purpose of using Walker was to neutralize the Lions' best defensive player, Ndamukong Suh.

The last time they faced off, the 49ers utilized the wham block as a great way of both slowing Suh down and opening lanes for Gore. And as a runner, Gore has such great patience and vision, that he can take advantage of this kind of run being setup for him. Executed properly and it could be the difference between a 5-yard gain and a 60-yard gain.

It will certainly be curious to see if the 49ers use this technique once more against the Lions, especially since Detroit has seen the film now and would be expecting it.

Even if Detroit were to catch Walker coming in motion, setting up the wham block, they might not be able to stop it. Suh would be in his stance and Walker would have the proper leverage and angle. Walker also has the advantage in that he can get hands on Suh before Suh can get hands on him. Walker was effective dipping his shoulder into the defensive tackle, so it shouldn't surprise anyone if they dial up a couple wham blocks against Detroit.

Then again, the 49ers may have an entirely fresh, new game-plan designed around the run. This offensive staff is becoming known for it's creativity and ability to game-plan, so who knows what they'll have in their bag of tricks. One thing is for sure, keep and eye out for Delanie Walker going in motion.

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