For 49ers’ Gore, Super Bowl defeat tough to take

NEW ORLEANS — Less than an hour after the 49ers’ last gasp of Super Bowl XLVII, Frank Gore sat back quietly behind a podium, eyes glistening. He shook his head and looked down at bright yellow shoes that stood out amid a fitting all-black wardrobe.

“We were the better team,” Gore said quietly.

The scoreboard said otherwise, but Gore, like the 49ers in the second half, didn’t back down. He was proud of his teammates and of his contribution: 19 rushes for 110 yards and a touchdown in a 34-31 loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

“I just feel like we were the better team,” Gore repeated. “They got away with one today. It’s tough. This is tough.”

Gore’s tough second-half running helped the 49ers get back in the game and nearly sparked a historic comeback. He rushed for 81 yards on eight second-half carries, including an untouched sprint to the right corner of the end zone that cut the deficit to eight late in the third quarter. Gore’s biggest run came with 2:47 remaining and the Ravens desperately holding a 34-29 lead as Colin Kaepernick marched the 49ers down the field.

Gore, who adjusted his game after Kaepernick took over for Alex Smith, took a handoff out of the pistol formation and juked a Ravens defender before bursting through a hole along the left side of the line. Two more cuts took Gore toward the sideline, and after outrunning Ed Reed he bowled his way down to the 7-yard line, a 33-yard gain.

What was Gore, the eight-year veteran who has overcome so much adversity, thinking as the 49ers looked at a first-and-goal situation?

“Game over,” Gore said later. “The Niners are going to win.”

After a short run by LaMichael James, the 49ers came up short on three pass attempts for the game-winner.

James, a rookie, sat two lockers away from Gore in the losing locker room. Sounds from the on-field Ravens celebration echoed toward the locker room, and the 49ers sat under banners that read: “NFC Champions.”

That’s as far as the 49ers would get.

“I have no doubt in my mind,” James said when asked if the 49ers would be back in the Super Bowl. “I have no doubt.”

Gore knows it’s not that easy. He was the last 49ers player to begin dressing after the loss and stood at the corner of the locker room for several minutes, eyes scanning the ceiling and hands clasped behind his head. Coach Jim Harbaugh eventually wandered over, twice patting Gore affectionately on the back.

“He told me he’s proud of me,” Gore said. “He loved the way I fought. I had a great game, but we just didn’t get it done.”

Gore said he wasn’t upset that the ball didn’t come his way after his 33-yard run that nearly clinched a Super Bowl. His face told a different story.

“Every player wants the ball at that big time,” Gore finally admitted. “But our coaches make the decision, and we tried our best to make it happen.”

He said the next step is to keep fighting, to keep pushing to get over the hump. But he knows these chances don’t come often, and the scene on the field served as a reminder. As Gore was whisked along back hallways of the Superdome on a golf cart, two other former University of Miami stars — Ray Lewis and Reed — celebrated a title that adds yet another highlight to their illustrious careers.

Gore knows it could have been him under the confetti. He believes it should have been him.

“It’s tough,” he said again. “When you’re in the dance, you want to get it.”

More in Sports

Youth-laden Lynnwood girls peaking at the right time

The Royals overcame adversity and ‘ups and downs’ to reach the state regionals.

Spartans seeking ‘redemption,’ return trip to Tacoma Dome

A year after losing its two state tournament games, Stanwood is eager to return to the Tacoma Dome.

Huskies struggle on both ends in 94-78 loss to Stanford

Washington fails to find a consistent shot and provides little defense in the defeat.

Zunino taking on leadership role with M’s in spring

After an early-season demotion last year, Seattle’s 26-year-old catcher hit .281 after the All-Star break.

At a glance: Girls basketball state regional games

Class 4A No. 2 Eastlake (21-2) vs. No. 7 Lake Stevens (19-3)… Continue reading

BLOG: Juulsen debuts with Montreal while Silvertips prep for three in three

Former Everett Silvertips captain Noah Juulsen became the 18th player in franchise… Continue reading

Silvertips sit atop tight race in Western Conference

U.S. Division-leading Everett leads 8th-place Seattle by just 18 points in the West.

No. 6 Gonzaga rallies to beat San Diego 77-72

The Bulldogs trail at halftime but beat the Toreros to clinch at least a share of the WCC title.

Blackmouth opener lives up to expectations

State creel checkers tallied roughly one chinook for every 2.5 Area 9 anglers on opening day.

Most Read