If you look at the final box score in the Indianapolis Colts–Tennessee Titans game, you would see that the Colts had 104 yards on the ground on 25 attempts. You would be happy with the 4.2 yards-per-carry average. In fact, you may even be even more pleased that Donald Brown stepped up huge, having 54 yards while Trent Richardson had only 19.
However, that’s why teams don’t always look at the final stats and determine lineups going forward. Those are what I like to call “tainted stats.” They give you false hope. In fact, the ground game was pretty bad again today and if not for the final drive, they would have been flat-out embarrassing.
The offensive line failed to open holes all day as none of the running backs had any daylight to run through. They also allowed Andrew Luck to be sacked five times and have to run for his life for most of the afternoon.
Prior the the Colts’ final drive, Indianapolis only had 26 yards on 16 attempts. So for 3.5 quarters, Indianapolis only had 26 yards on the ground. They finally stepped up on the final drive and willed out a win with 78 yards on nine carries.
That’s why the final stats aren’t always a good factor to base the game off of. 78 of the 104 yards came on one possession late in the game. If the Colts’ defense didn’t step up again today and allowed them to have a lead in that situation, they likely wouldn’t have finished with that many yards on the ground. They would have been forced to pass instead of run late in the game, and not run out the clock.
That’s why the lack of success on the ground is still alarming.
Eric Smith is the Colts Beat Writer for Rant Sports. He’s covered the team the past four seasons and is recognized as an accredited member of the media by the Colts. Follow him on Twitter @ericsportsguru