During the 4th quarter of a 20-3 victory over the Denver Broncos, THIRTY SIX YEAR OLD Buffalo Bills running back Frank Gore moved into 3rd place on the all-time rushing yard list. (15,289)
Gore (36) out of the University of Miami in the 2005 NFL Draft continues to defy logic. Not only did he just pass Barry Sanders (15,269 yards) but for the 15th straight year he is leading his team in rushing. (51 yards more than 22 year old rookie Devin Singletary through 11 games)
The Buffalo Bills are 8-3.
I know there are many typos on DOL but that is correct. I promise. The Buffalo Bills are 8-3. I am required to mention their final 5 games are very tough and 3 are on the road...but 8-3 is 8-3. Good for Buffalo. Best record through 11 games since 1996.
The contrarian may say that Barry did it on nearly 500 fewer carries and while true but nobody is taking anything away from the great Barry Sanders. He just made the NFL 100 All-Time team. I think Gore passing him shows the greatness of both backs. What Barry was able to achieve in a relatively short career, and Frank Gore's ability to keep pounding the rock long past his expected expiration date.
Fellow former U running back, Clinton Portis talking about seeing Gore as freshman really puts the longevity of Frank Gore in perspective.
Clinton Portis, a borderline Hall of Fame running back in his own right, is less than 2 years older than Frank Gore and he hasn't played a down since 2010!!
I know Portis was hurt, but God damn Frank Gore has had a hell of a career. In an era where more and more guys are calling it quits early, Frank is still having fun playing the kids game as his 20 year high school reunion must be coming up soon. He's been through so much and to still be playing well enough to make a impact on a likely playoff team as he is officially in his late 30's....Incredible.
IMO Frank Gore is one of the most underappreciated running backs in NFL history. NINE 1000 yard seasons. Another two where he was less than 40 yards away from 1K. All-time leading rusher in the history of the San Francisco 49ers (decent franchise). 6,450 yards after he turned 30; almost 1,500 more than HOFer Gale Sayers had in his entire career.
With 1,438 more yards Gore would pass Sweetness himself, Walter Payton for 2nd place all-time. You gotta think there's like a 35% chance that happens. Emmitt Smith's all-time record of 18,355 (over 3,000 more than Gore) seems safe....8% chance.
He's obviously not forgotten, but if you were just gonna rank the top 20 yardage rushers 1-20 how many would people have before him? Maybe now in his later years he'll finally get the recognition he deserves in NFL history. Some all-time heartbreaks during the Harbaugh 49er 3-year run have unfairly changed the legacy of Gore. Even as a Patriots fan sometimes I think it's unfair how much a Super Bowl change the legacy of a player in the ultimate team game.
That being said...
2011: If Ted Ginn wasn't hurt allowing Kyle Williams to fumble away an NFC title he's got at least another shot at a ring.
2012: If Jim Harbaugh stuck to what had gotten the 49ers to the Super Bowl and back in the game itself AND ran the ball with Gore inside the 5 instead of throwing fades to Michael Crabtree there's a great chance that not only does Frank Gore have a Super Bowl ring but also has a Super Bowl MVP. Gores final carry of Super Bowl XLVIII was a 33 yard carry to get the 49ers a first and goal on the 7 yard line.
2013: Down 6 to the Seahawks in the NFCCG, driving late to potentially take lead, Kaepernick threw the pick that induced the nation to Richard Sherman.
Frank Gore hasn't been the playoffs since, but when he got there, he was fantastic.
Even with the Bills at 8-3 and having a nice story this year...let's be real. The Ravens or Patriots will be representing the AFC in Miami for Super Bowl LIV. With the 9ers good again and using seemingly 7 backs a game, it sucks to see Frank Gore achieve this in Buffalo.
Congratulations to Frank Gore on being the new Bronze Medalist of the NFL rushing Olympics. One of my all-time favorites. Just an absolute workhouse, smashmouth, everything you want in a running back, running back.