Why the Indianapolis Colts Should Stick to the Run

By Dylan Hughes
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts have always been known for their quarterbacks. They had Johnny Unitas when they were in Baltimore, they had Peyton Manning, and now, they are in their second season with Andrew Luck. When you think of the Colts, you just think pass. All the great seasons, all the wins, all the records due to a lethal passing game, even when the Colts had great running backs, like Edgerrin James or Marshall Faulk, they were still thought of as a passing team with an effective run game. Well, recent events have shown the Colts should maybe mix it up a little bit, and become a running team. But wait, they still have Luck at quarterback, don’t they? Yeah, they do, but take a look at who they have in the running back department and maybe you’ll soon understand.

The Colts and their fans started to silently panic once three starters went down to injury in a week’s time, one of them being starting running back Vick Ballard. Indianapolis was stuck with injury prone Ahmad Bradshaw and the very inconsistent Donald Brown. GM Ryan Grigson then went under the radar because he wasn’t quite comfortable with the backs they had, so, they went out and nabbed young stud Trent Richardson.

Richardson wasn’t expected to play much in the team’s game against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday as he isn’t fully down with the playbook yet, but he ended up banging out 35 yards on 13 carries. Richardson’s first carry as a Colt was a 1-yard touchdown run, after the Colts’ line opened a nice hole.

Richardson will get it going once he becomes more familiar with the offense, so don’t make an opinion from his numbers today. That’s off topic though. Aside from Richardson, Bradshaw rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown. Luck also added 24 yards and a score. Luck only threw for 164 yards, and no touchdown. The Colts won 27-7. Are you starting to catch the hints? The Colts scored 27 points on the road, against the 49ers, in San Francisco, where no road team is supposed to win, and the Colts did. The Colts put up three touchdowns, all on the ground.

Once Richardson starts to get a hang of everything, he will undoubtedly be the starter with Bradshaw backing him up. That means they will improve on the ground, which is crazy to say after Sunday.

The point from all of this is that the Colts can not only survive with their running game, but win big with it. They have two solid running backs in Richardson and Bradshaw — as long as he stays healthy — and seem to have a new and improved offensive line. Sticking to the run is very important for Indianapolis because it is easier to have a consistent running game rather than a consistent passing game. As long as you have a line that can open holes and solid backs, it’s easy to put up the numbers the Colts did in Week 3. The Colts do have a great quarterback and receivers, but it’s just hard to keep it consistent every week. All running backs do is run. Throwing the ball is just more complicated, no matter how stupid that may sound.

Another thing is sticking to the run takes some pressure off of Luck, which is bigger than it sounds. He has been relied on so much since he was drafted by the Colts, not having to throw 300 yards and three touchdowns a game in order to win will let him play more comfortably, and will improve his decision-making (not that it’s bad as is). Plus, he likes to run the ball himself, so he can get in on it, as well.

After the Richardson trade, the Colts said they wanted to become 51 percent run, 49 percent pass. That would work, but running the ball even more than that could be good for the 2-1 Colts.

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