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Frank Gore Wants 1,000 Yards Badly; Pagano Wants It Too

Posted Dec 31, 2015

Gore would join a ton of elite company with 109 yards on Sunday.



INDIANAPOLIS --- You don’t need to remind Frank Gore how many yards he needs Sunday against the Titans to reach 1,000 yards or how many 1,000-yard seasons that would be in his great career.


He knows.


He recited it to reporters off the top of his head Wednesday. 109 yards away from his 9th 1,000-yard season, which would make him just the 5th running back in NFL history to accomplish that feat. Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, and Curtis Martin each had ten 1,000-yard seasons, and Emmitt Smith had eleven.


“Yeah, it is,” said Gore, when asked Wednesday if his legacy is important to him. “I’ve been blessed to be playing this game and blessed to be successful in this game. This is my first time going to a different team, and I still feel like I can play at a high level. We’re close. Why not go get it?”


To do it though, Gore will have to break a 49-game drought of Colts running backs failing to reach 100 yards in a game, the last being Vick Ballard, who rushed for 105 yards at Houston week 15 of the 2012 season. Gore would also be the first Colts rusher to reach 1,000 yards in a season since Joseph Addai in 2007.


“The most important thing is the win, and then if we can somehow, someway muster up I think it’s 109 yards to have a 1,000-yard rusher, (that would be) icing on the cake,” said Chuck Pagano Wednesday. “Number one goal is to win the game by any means necessary, and then if that happens, that’d be phenomenal.”


“Wow,” said Gore, when he heard what Pagano said. “That would be big, man, especially with myself coming from San Fran and getting consecutive 1,000 yards (with the 49ers). Now, I’m on a new team and a team who hasn’t had a back (with 1,000 yards) since ‘07.”


Gore came to Indianapolis coming off four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in San Francisco and eight in the past nine years. Other than his rookie season, the only year he didn’t rush for 1,000 yards with the 49ers was in 2010 when he would have reach the mark if not for missing 5 games due to a hip injury. Gore was on pace for more than 1,200 yards in that injury shortened season.


Since that injury, Gore hasn’t missed a single regular season game, the only running back in the NFL to do that since the start of the 2011 season.


To get his 9th 1,000-yard campaign though, Gore and Pagano know it won’t be easy. The Colts will likely have a 4th different quarterback under center Sunday against the Titans, which means an expectation that the defense will stuff as many people near the line of scrimmage as possible to take Gore away.


“This is what we’ll plan for is to have nine, ten guys around the line of scrimmage first and second down, and they are not going to let us run the football, number one,” said Pagano. “They are going to dare us to throw it every snap.”


“Who wouldn’t do that?” asked Gore, when a reporter suggested the possibility of maximum defenders in the box against him Sunday. “I feel like...if we stay ahead of the chains, keep getting positive yards instead of taking losses, that should help us.”


Gore and the Colts offense was able to do that last week at Miami, amassing 72 first half rushing yards, but Gore only finished with 85 on the day after the Dolphins stacked the box even more.


109 yards Sunday though, and Gore adds his name to another prestigious list, becoming just the 4th rusher to reach 1,000 yards after turning 32, joining Emmitt Smith (2001), Mike Anderson (2005), and Ricky Williams (2009).


“I don’t want to be that guy,” Gore said last week, with a laugh, referring to the possibility of becoming another name on the list of Colts rushers to not reach 1,000 yards in recent years. “I’m going to fight for it.”


That’s what Gore does. It’s wired into his DNA. Football is life for him. 109 yards? 1,000 for the season? You may think it’s too many to reach, but don’t forget. This is Frank Gore.

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