November 14 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers rushing game added a new dimension on Sunday. There were several differences in the run game this past week that had been missing over recent weeks, and in some cases all season.
The first change came with Garrison Hearst looking more explosive. His hamstring did not seem to be slowing him down against the Chiefs, a drastic difference than in the past two weeks. Hearst had a much easier time cutting runs outside and up the field.
Fred Beasley continues to see an increased amount of carries with the ball. Not only was Beasley hammering for short first down runs against the Chiefs, but the 49ers used him on a ‘normal’ run too. The team also ran a backfield with two fullbacks in it, Fred Beasley and Paul Smith, which was an extremely powerful set.
Finally Kevan Barlow saw some time as the single set running back. Garrison Hearst is normally the running back use when they shift to a single back offense, but on Sunday, Kevan Barlow was given an opportunity in this role.
The shifts in the running game should bring a new breadth to the 49ers offense. Expect to see the team continue to shift things around in the backfield now that they have regained health in all of their backs.