Frank Gore must step up vs. Texans with Andrew Luck out

After the news broke that Andrew Luck would miss tonight’s game against the Houston Texans, it became apparent that the Indianapolis Colts would need Frank Gore to step up on the ground. He is one of the most talented running backs in the NFL, but he has got off to an incredibly slow start so far this year.

Throughout the first four weeks of the season, Gore has carried the football 54 times for 227 yards and two touchdowns. His best game came against the Tennessee Titans in Week 3, but he came through with a dud last week against Jacksonville.

Matt Hasselbeck is a quality backup quarterback, but he isn’t the type of quarterback that can power his team to a win. Houston is going to do everything they can to put pressure on Hasselbeck, which could be a big issue for the Colts depending on how much Pep Hamilton decides to pass the football. If they can establish the ground game, it will force the Texans to respect the ground game and open up the pass.

At 32 years old, Gore is starting to slow down a bit but has plenty of football left to play before retiring.

He has the potential to break through with a massive game tonight against the Texans. They have a decent run defense, but he has shredded top run defenses throughout his career. Indianapolis doesn’t need even a 100-yard game from Gore, but around 80 yards and a touchdown or two would do the trick.

Hamilton will likely try to establish the ground game early and often this evening against the Texans. He knows how important it will be for the all-around success of the offense to get Gore going and feed him often throughout the course of the game. Houston knows that as well and will likely do everything they can to make running the football difficult.

That being said, the stage is set for a better AFC South rivalry tonight. Luck being forced to sit out with a shoulder injury is going to be a big loss for the Colts and it will change the game plan that they would have had otherwise.

Gore will have a big game tonight assuming the Colts do ask him to carry the football consistently. There is nothing holding him back and he is out to prove a point that the Colts made the right decision signing him in free agency.

Expect to see this game come down to the wire, but it could be decided by whether or not the Colts can get Gore going and whether or not he can be a workhorse for the offense.

About Evan Massey

Evan Massey is a sportswriter that has been in the industry for the past six years. He has seen his work featured on Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports, ESPN and Bleacher Report. Known for his work ethic and ability to cover any league and team, Evan is always willing to talk sports with fans and debate any topic. Follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan, or email him: