Sunday was a great day for 49ers fans as the team clinched their first playoff berth in nine years. The team had a few historic notes, with the most significant coming from Frank Gore. The 49ers running back passed Hall of Famer Joe "The Jet" Perry to become the franchise's NFL rushing king. Gore is now at 7,396 career rushing yards. I specify NFL because the official record books do not currently recognize Perry's yards when the 49ers were still in the AAFC.
Nonetheless, Gore's accomplishment remains significant. He unfortunately had his 1,000-yard rushing seasons streak snapped last season with his hip injury, but he has bounced back with a vengeance. He currently has 909 yards on the season, and with four games remaining, he should be able to surpass 1,000 yards for the fifth time in his NFL career. He likely will not reach his single-season franchise record of 1,695 yards, but he should be able to surpass his next best total of 1,120 yards.
Getting the record in a game in which the team clinched a playoff berth makes it doubly sweet. Gore is one of many players that made it through a brutal run with the 49ers struggling year in and year out, so getting into the playoffs is all the sweeter.
I'll be honest. When the 49ers drafted Frank Gore I was excited about the pick. At the same time, given that he had surgery on both knees while at Miami, I was not exactly expecting a lengthy career for him. He has proven me oh so wrong and I could not be happier. He set the 49ers rushing record and now has a chance to move past some other great backs on the NFL's all-time list. He is currently No. 47 and is 211 yards back of Terrell Davis for No. 46.
Congratulations to a beast of a back. We've got some video below of his record-setting run, as well as his comments following the game, after the jump.
Frank you said at the beginning of the season that you would love to be the team's rushing leader but your top priority would be making the playoffs, is this sort of a double dose of celebration for you?
"Yes it feels great. It is a blessing. I first have to say thanks to the man up above for letting me do something that I love to do and to have my name being mentioned with some of the guys who were here before me. I also have to give a shout out to all of my o-linemen that have helped me get this record. The ones who are here now and the ones who were here before. All of the coaches. It is just a blessing and I am happy. The main thing that I am happy about is that I get the opportunity to play in the post season."
Did you sense that your head coach was a little worried during the course of the week?
"He was alright."
You had mentioned that he had come up to you a couple times and said hey we got this?
"Yes, it was alright. I just had to let him know that we were going to take care of it. This was something that we as a team really wanted. It has been the same group of guys that have been here for a while and since we have been here that has been our goal. This year has been a great opportunity to get it and we don't want to let it get away."
What has led you guys to be at the status that you are now?
"I would just say that we are one. As a team, we have a great coaching staff, we are all working as one. We have great leaders and the leaders are doing a great job with us. We are just taking advantage of it."
What did you do with the flag?
"I brought it into the locker room. Like I said, it is a blessing. It is my first time ever, since I have been here. There has been some tough years here and now to get the opportunity to go to the postseason and to get it early, that is a blessing."
What made you bring the flag to the locker room?
"I was just having fun. I am just happy."
Did you here from anyone or get a message from anyone [breaking the record]?
"[RB] Roger [Craig], texted me and said that I deserve it and to keep going. He is happy that I will get the chance to get to the playoffs for the first time. He said that he wishes the best for me."
Frank in training camp you could have just played out the rest of the season and gone somewhere else, why was it important for you after having a lot of frustration through the years to stay here?
"This is where I want to be. I have great guys who I am very close with and I knew that we had the team to do what we are doing now. With coach [Jim] Harbaugh and his coaching staff coming in and talking to me, and knowing that all the things that he was telling me, I knew we would have a good team. I just want to be here, this is the team that drafted me, I have had a lot of success here and I just want to be here."
Did you watch a lot of the playoff games over the past four or five years?
"Yes I did, especially the year when Arizona went to the Super Bowl. When you see that, that lets you know that anything can happen in the postseason. When you see us go against Arizona that year the games were neck in neck. It is just all about perfect timing. That year when they went to the Super Bowl their team clicked at the right time. I think as a team and a coaching staff, we still have a lot to go on to get done. That is a great thing for us. We are 10-2 but as an offense, I still think that we have a lot to work on to improve. I just hope that, like that Arizona team we just click at the right time, close to the playoffs and make that run."
Were you conscience at all that you were on the verge of breaking the record?
"Yes. You all here, the reporters here would not let me forget that."