Frank Gore and Clinton Portis, together again

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Frank Gore, who comes to FedEx Field this weekend with the 49ers, had himself quite an October. He played in four games and rushed for 127 (vs. the Eagles), 125 (Bucs), 141 (Lions) and 134 (Seahawks) yards.

This is no small feat. Only a dozen NFL backs in the last 50-odd years have had a streak of four games or longer in which they rushed for 125-plus yards. And only Clinton Portis, a running mate of Gore’s at the University of Miami, has done it twice – once with Mike Shanahan’s Broncos, the other time with Jim Zorn’s Redskins.

Maybe you’d be more impressed if I listed some of the backs who haven’t done it: Emmitt Smith, Walter Payton, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Tony Dorsett, Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, Franco Harris, Thurman Thomas, Fred Taylor, John Riggins, Corey Dillon, Warrick Dunn and Ricky Watters. (In other words, 15 of the top 20 rushers of all time.) Jamal Lewis never did it, either, not even in his 2,000-yard season with the Ravens. Tiki Barber? Eddie George? Shaun Alexander? Nope.

OK, without further ado, here is the company Gore keeps. By the way, the record for consecutive 125-yard rushing games is six, shared by three players (just in case Frank wants to keep his streak going Sunday):

Earl Campbell, Houston Oilers, 1980 (6 straight, Games 6-11) – 178, 203, 202, 157, 130, 206.

Eric Dickerson, Rams, 1984 (6 straight, Games 10-15) – 208, 149, 132, 191, 149, 215.

Chris Johnson, Titans, 2009 (6 straight, Games 6-11) – 128, 228, 135, 132, 151, 154.

● Jim Brown, Browns, 1958 (5 straight, Games 1-5) – 171, 129, 182, 153, 180.

● O.J. Simpson, Bills, 1975 (5 straight, Games 1-5) – 173, 227, 138, 159, 126.

● Barry Sanders, Lions, 1997 (5 straight, Games 12-16) – 216, 167, 137, 138, 184.

● Clinton Portis, Broncos, 2003-04 (5 straight, Games 11-14, 1) – 165, 170, 218, 139, 148.

● Larry Johnson, Chiefs, 2005 (5 straight, Games 12-16) – 140, 143, 167, 131, 201.

● Otis Armstrong, Broncos, 1974 (4 straight, Games 11-14) – 146, 144, 183, 142.

● Marcus Allen, Raiders, 1985 (4 straight, Games 11-14) – 135, 173, 156, 135.

● Terrell Davis, Broncos, 1998 (4 straight, Games 5-8) – 168, 208, 136, 149.

● Clinton Portis, Redskins, 2008 (4 straight, Games 5-8) – 145, 129, 175, 126.

● Frank Gore, 49ers, 2011 (4 straight, Games 4-7) – 127, 125, 141, 134.

(FYI: Shanahan is the only coach to have two backs on the list – Portis and Davis.)

One last comment: Earl was an absolute beast, wasn’t he?

 

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About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of "The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at ddaly@washingtontimes.com.

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