There’s one game remaining this season for the Indianapolis Colts, and it’s a meaningless one. They will host the Jacksonville Jaguars on New Year’s Day, though both teams are out of playoff contention.
That doesn’t mean that there aren’t storylines worth monitoring in this game, however, and one of the key ones has to do with running back Frank Gore. He’s had a terrific season, and he’s close to achieving a significant milestone.
Gore has rushed for 964 yards this season through 15 games, putting him just 36 yards away from the 1,000 yard mark. That’s nothing new for the veteran, as he’s done it eight times already in his career. But this one might mean a little bit more, for various reasons.
Firstly, Gore would become the oldest player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since Hall of Famer John Riggins did it in 1984 at the age of 35. Gore is 33 years old currently, and no one that old has topped the mark in rushing since Riggins did it. In fact, Gore would be just the fourth player to ever do it at age 33 or older, joining Riggins, Franco Harris, and John Henry Johnson. We’ve seen how quickly running backs drop off and how short their runs of success normally are, so that would be an incredible accomplishment for Gore.
Secondly, he would also break a Colts’ streak of rushing mediocrity. The Colts haven’t had a 1,000 yard rusher in a season since Joseph Addai did it in 2007, meaning that if Gore does top the mark this year he will snap a streak of eight straight years without a running back doing so in Indianapolis.
Thirdly, it would be Gore’s ninth 1,000 yard season, which would put him in exclusive company with Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Curtis Martin, Walter Payton, and Barry Sanders as the only players to rush for 1,000 yards in at least nine different seasons.
Already in Saturday’s loss to the Raiders, Gore became the first player in NFL history to post eleven consecutive seasons with at least 1,200 yards from scrimmage, breaking a tie with Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, and Emmitt Smith. That’s impressive enough itself, but Gore has some more milestones left ahead this year if he can muster 36 yards rushing this Sunday against the Jaguars.
It has been a very rough season for the Colts, who will miss the playoffs for the second straight year after Gore signed with them hoping to win a Super Bowl. That’s unfortunate, but the veteran has always given it his all and displayed top effort, while also producing on the field. Though others haven’t held up their end of the bargain, Gore has done his job. This year, he’s rushed for 964 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry, and he’s also caught 36 passes for 263 yards and four touchdowns (averaging 7.3 yards per catch). Combined, he’s totaled 1,227 yards and eight touchdowns for scrimmage this year for Indianapolis, which is very impressive for a 33-year old running back. Hopefully, he’ll cap it off by reaching the 1,000 yard mark in rushing this year to provide another personal highlight in a really rough year for the team.