When you consider the current Indianapolis Colts offense, you likely conjure thoughts of Andrew Luck to TY Hilton. Chances are, it’s a ridiculous pass into a tight window down the sideline that Hilton drags his feet to keep in bounds. However, when you factor in running back Frank Gore, you give the team a set of triplets.
Gore, while no longer explosive at the age of 34, is as accomplished as they come. He currently sits at eighth in NFL history in rushing yards. By season’s end, he will probably be fifth. Though he is no longer a game-breaker, he is coming off of a 1,000-yard season. And, he is still on the Colts’ roster for a reason.
Gore is still effective because of his vision and feel for the trenches. For regular running backs, running the ball is a task -- grab the ball, see the hole, hit the hole. However, for the special running backs, running the ball is an art form and a natural feeling. The latter is the group that Gore belongs to.
So, when NFL.com analyst Dave Dameshek compiled his most recent list of the league’s top sets of triplets, the Colts actually got a respectable ranking: 13th.
That may not seem all that great but considering there are 32 total teams, the Colts rank in the top third of the league. Dameshek also has a point system that he assigns to his top 32 quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, so this is somewhat data-driven.
If it were just Luck and Hilton, they probably get bumped up the list because the two can be considered fringe elite-level players and are in their prime. Gore, however, is almost certainly about the enter the swan song of his career that is his 2017 season. His current contract expires after this season, and he will be 35 years old next May. It would be pretty bold for the Colts or any other team to sign him to a new deal.
In Dameshek’s previous edition of these rankings, the Colts’ trio ranked 16th, so they actually improved. Likely thanks to Hilton’s 2016 receiving yards crown. This year, Dameshek had the following to say on the Colts’ trio:
“Luck may have taken over for the uber-efficient Peyton Manning, but he plays more like an Elway/Favre-style gunslinger, relying on late-game heroics to overcome self-inflicted wounds (and the sizable point totals of the Colts' foes). Ageists may point to Gore's birth year (1983) as the reason for his so-so production in Indy, but an abysmal O-line deserves the majority of the blame. Hilton's terrific, but he (and Luck) need more consistent help.”
Most of what Dameshek said is accurate. And I know we all know that the Colts’ offensive line is improved/still-improving. But, until the Colts start winning again and/or Luck isn’t getting blatantly blasted by pass-rushers, the national media is not going to know about it. Just strap in.