The San Francisco 49ers face off against an old friend on Sunday when they travel to play Frank Gore and the Indianapolis Colts. We could talk about Gore every day, all day if we wanted to. He’s put up Hall of Fame numbers, playing much of his career on some shaky teams. His teams had considerable success from 2011 to 2013, but otherwise, he’s been on mediocre or bad teams.
In spite of all that, he continues chugging along. He is now in the final year of his contract with the Colts, but he has no plans on calling it quits yet. His numbers have gone down this season, but in speaking with Stampede Blue site manager Brett Mock, much of it has nothing to do with Gore’s advancing age.
Brett took a few minutes to offer his thoughts on what Gore brings to the table in Indianapolis, and what to make of their run game. We always enjoy hearing about Frank Gore!
Running back Frank Gore is still one of the most reliable ball carriers in the NFL. He isn't flashy and isn't going to break a ton of long runs. He might not even break a run for over 25 yards for the rest of his career. But somehow, he finds a way to defy time and come back each year looking spry and hitting the hole hard.
Now some fans in Indianapolis will tell you that his time as a legitimate running back is over and that the Colts desperately need someone new, someone faster, someone who can break a game open with 80-yard rushing touchdowns. All of those things are nice and all of those things are desirable but there are only a handful of running backs in the NFL who are true three-down rushers who also have the ability to break the game wide open.
While Frank Gore may no longer be a player who can take nearly thirty snaps per game, and while there are other options on the Colts like Robert Turbin or rookie Marlon Mack who bring something to the team that Gore does not, neither of those players are anywhere near the running back Gore is right now. Gore is still the most dangerous backfield weapon in Indianapolis who will get more yards out of each carry than all but only a few running backs in the NFL.
I will tell you that I think Frank Gore is still a weapon. I think he is woefully misused by what continues to be a theme of horrible offensive play-calling in Indianapolis. If you want to know at least one thing you can be absolutely sure that you will see this weekend it is that Gore will take a hand-off on first down, sometimes from the shotgun, that is a designed dive up the middle. Everyone in the stadium will know it is coming.
It will go nowhere.
This is killing Gore's yards per carry and making him appear older and less effective than his capable of being.
The Colts offensive line is not the same as it was last year either, which is saying something considering the group hasn't been known as a strength for years. Somehow the unit was able to muster up a positive run blocking grade in 2016 and it simply isn't getting the job done this year. Getting 2016 first round center Ryan Kelly back on the field will help this considerably but a bad offensive line has done Gore no favors.
So yeah, it's completely fair to say that Gore is not the same game-breaking talent that he used to be. If he was, the 49ers would have never let him go. But don't let the stats fool you. Gore steps on the field ready to play and I wouldn't be surprised to see him play with something a little extra facing his old team.