49ers pounding opponents with ground game

Associated Press Modified: October 26, 2012 at 6:17 pm •  Published: October 26, 2012
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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers are beating up opponents with a power rushing attack, and nobody's enjoying it more than the big bodies leading the way up front.

A physical offensive line featuring 2010 first-round draft picks Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis has established itself as a force in the trenches, opening holes for a ground game that ranks second in the NFL in yards rushing and first in rushing average.

Seattle entered last week's game with the NFL's second-ranked rushing defense, but the 49ers blasted through the Seahawks for 175 yards to highlight a 13-6 slugfest victory that put San Francisco alone atop the NFC West at 5-2.

That kind of performance has become typical for the 49ers, who have rushed for 175 yards or more four times already this season and look to do it again Monday night at Arizona in another key divisional game.

San Francisco's line is expecting another physical battle against an Arizona defensive front that features Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell, who said earlier this week that the 49ers are a team that both he and Dockett "really hate with a passion."

The Niners have held the upper hand in several of those kinds of battles this season. San Francisco's five offensive line starters average 6-foot-5 and 317 pounds, and they pack a punch.

"We're big guys leaning on you all game," Davis said Friday. "We just do our job, and it wears you out. It's just natural it happens like that. It's just one will against another, and some guys are tougher than other guys."

Davis and Iupati have started every game for the 49ers since they were drafted, becoming in 2010 just the third pair of rookie offensive linemen to start every game since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978. Since then, they have set the tone of physicality for San Francisco's line.

Particularly Iupati.

A bruiser at left guard, Iupati has gained a reputation as one of the top run-blocking guards in the league. Second-year offensive coordinator Greg Roman said Iupati "had the best game since I've been here" during the win against Seattle.

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