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The Colts have gone 41 straight games without a 100-yard rusher

After some early success on Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts got away from giving the ball to running back Frank Gore. Gary Wiepert/AP

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s up to 41 games and counting when it comes to the Indianapolis Colts not having a 100-yard rusher in a game.

Make no mistake about it, the Colts will always be a pass-first team with quarterback Andrew Luck, but they spent the offseason talking about how the addition of running back Frank Gore would help ease some of the load off of their passing game.

The Colts threw the ball 49 times and rushed for a grand total of 64 yards on 17 attempts in their 13-point loss to the Buffalo Bills last week.

“We had more runs called, but they were low in blocks,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the game. “They had a bunch of guys in there. We’ve got to be able to run the football and try to stay more balanced.”

The coach wasn’t done talking about the desire to run the day after the game.

“We need to have the ability to be able to just run it,” Pagano said Monday. "[Gore] popped some good gains, first play of the game. I think he averaged 3.9 on the few carries that he had, so we’ve got to be better there.”

Gore’s first run as a Colt went for eight yards. He rushed two more times in the first series before vanishing in the running game.

Gore didn’t touch the ball again until there was less than eight minutes remaining in the first half because the Colts attempted 18 straight passes.

Let this soak in for a minute: Gore, who has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in eight of his 10 seasons, went more than 19 minutes without taking a handoff.

“I know as a quarterback, it’s awesome when your run game is rolling,” Luck said. “It makes things simple. It really does. I know it helps the O-line against pass rush. I think it helps everybody. So I do think balance is important, but as you know in a football game, things happen that dictate what you can and cannot call. We’ve been in games before where we haven’t been able to run, but we’ve found a way to pull a victory out. Really at the end of the day it’s about getting a win. I do think balance can help you, but you can’t foresee the future in every game.”

The Bills loaded the box with eight defenders, causing Luck to change plays at the line of scrimmage. But facing loaded boxes is nothing new for Gore. That’s what he faced a lot of times during his career with the San Francisco 49ers. Gore has rushed for 2,092 yards and 35 touchdowns on 558 attempts in his career when facing at least eight defenders in the box.

“It’s B.Y.O.B. when they put the eighth guy in there, if you can’t get them blocked, then (that will) be your own blocker,” Pagano said. “Run through them, run them over, run around them and make them miss. He’s done that for a long, long time, so we’ve got to give him and the other runners that opportunity.”

Gore added, “Whatever coach calls, I’m willing to do whatever they call. If we’re going to run, we’re going to run. If we’ve got to throw the ball, we’re going to throw the ball. We’ve got players for both.”