One of the most remarkable aspects of Frank Gore's career has been his durability, as he has not missed a single game since the 2010 season, playing in 83 straight games (including playoffs). That kind of consistency from a player who takes a beating every week due to him carrying the football is phenomenal, but the fact that he's out there on Sundays doesn't mean that he's not hurting at times.
One of those times seems to be right now, as he was on the injury report last week with an ankle injury after appearing to be limping at times during the win over Atlanta. Plus, at this time of year, 181 carries can start to add up and take a toll on players, particularly 32-year old running backs. Head coach Chuck Pagano acknowledged as much during his press conference on Monday.
"He's like everybody else. He took some shots yesterday, he's beat to crap," Pagano said. "But he's a warrior. He's a tough son of a gun and he finds a way to get himself right by Sunday and he'll be right come Sunday night at 8:30 and we're going to need him."
Through the first nine games of the season, Gore was terrific and was on pace for the first 1,000-yard rushing season for a Colt since Joseph Addai in 2007 while averaging just over 4 yards per carry. He topped 50 rushing yards in seven of the first nine games, but since the bye week, Gore has not had nearly as much success. In fact, over the past two weeks, Gore has rushed 33 times for just 58 yards, averaging just 1.76 yards per carry. That, obviously, isn't good.
It's clear that Frank Gore has not been running as well recently, though part of that could certainly be attributed to offensive line shuffling and good defensive fronts. Either way, though, it seems as if Gore is pretty beat up right now. That shouldn't come as much of a surprise for a running back in December, but it would help if the Colts could take some of the load off of him. That makes the loss of Ahmad Bradshaw even more costly as they lost their number two running back for the season, but it could mean even more opportunities for Boom Herron moving forward if the Colts want to ease the load on the veteran running back a bit down the stretch. At the same time, Pagano is right that the Colts need Gore, and so it's finding that balance between utilizing the players you have and trying to keep Gore fresh. That's hard to do, but it's something the Colts need to figure out.