Should 49ers worry about running game?

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The way this season is going for the San Francisco 49ers, there seems to always be something amiss with the offense.

Star receiver Michael Crabtree made his season debut Sunday and the result was the 49ers passing game came alive. However, the run game, which has been the focus of the offense, continued a mini slump.

Starting tailback Frank Gore has 121 yards on 41 carries in the past three games. As he did when asked about a floundering passing game, this season, 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh defended his team's ground game and said there is little to worry about. He noted the Rams, who the 49ers beat Sunday, are tough to run on.

Like many teams, the Rams stacked the box. As Crabtree continues to regain his health, that may not be the case. The 49ers exploited it Sunday.

“They just did a good job stopping the run and we countered with the pass, which was very effective,” Harbaugh said. “That was very much a positive.

“I think it definitely helps to be effective. Make people pay for moves that they make or to be able to counter it. ‘Well, here's how we're going to stop you.' Well, here's how we're going to counter that. That's just like being in an argument with somebody. They make an argument, you counter. Then they've got to counter back. It's similar to that. Good to have a good counter argument. State a case.”

Earlier in the season, the run game was the counter for a weak pass game. The key for the 49ers is to find a way for both aspects being a complement to the other.