Since gettingblown out 41--10 at Chicago on Oct. 29, the 49ers (5--5) have had a November toremember, surprisingly playing themselves into contention in the NFC West.Their 20--14 home upset of the Seahawks left them one game behind Seattle andholding the tiebreaker with six games to play. Credit the Niners' three-gamewinning streak to 2005 third-round running back Frank Gore, who's rushed for412 yards this month, including a franchise record 212 on Sunday. That pushedhis total to 1,043 yards, just two behind Larry Johnson. At the ripe age of 23,Gore (above) has had reconstructive surgery on both knees, having torn bothACLs while at Miami, which dropped his draft stock. "Knock on wood, theydon't hurt," he said on Sunday night. "It's amazing. I guess that's whythere is a God. People gave up on me, but I never gave up." The 5'9",212 pound Gore was a perimeter runner in college who didn't have a reputationfor grinding it out between the tackles. Now he has not only regained hisoutside speed but also built his lower body so that he can earn extra yards intraffic.
Last weekLaDainian Tomlinson, 27, reached the 100-touchdown mark faster than any NFLplayer before him, racking up four at Denver to reach 102 TDs in just his 89thgame. The Chargers' back compares favorably with the most prolific touchdownscorers in history, Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith, as well as with Jim Brown, whoheld the TD record for two decades after retiring in 1966.
[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
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1 Just goes toshow you how fast things change in the NFL: On Nov. 13 NBC, exerting itsflex-schedule right, snapped up what looked to be a prime matchup betweenDonovan McNabb's Eagles and the potentially unbeaten Colts for this week'sSunday night broadcast, passing up the Bears at the Patriots.
2 Weird: McNabbhas now suffered a season-ending injury in a home game in three of the pastfive Novembers (ankle, sports hernia, ACL).
3 NFL Networkpresident Steve Bornstein told SI he's "not confident at all" ofreaching a deal with Time Warner and Cablevision to pick up the network,meaning the 20 million cable homes in the U.S. with those systems are likely tomiss eight Thursday and Saturday games down the stretch.
Peter King'sMonday Morning Quarterback, every week at SI.com/football.