The improving Colts running game should scare the AFC

The Colts are in the playoffs if they can just beat Tennessee at home Sunday, which would be their seventh straight victory in Lucas Oil Stadium against a division opponent.  A win would be their fourth straight to end the season.

Almost an afterthought in the AFC, the defending conference champions look like Super Bowl contenders again because they are finding balance for the first time all season.  The Indianapolis Star notes the team ran for more than 150 yards in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2006.

For much of the season, the Colts didn’t have enough running backs.  Now they almost have too many with Joseph Addai back healthy and Dominic Rhodes providing a surprising boost to the team.  The offensive line has enjoyed continuity of late as well.

“As we go, the team kind of goes,” left tackle Charlie Johnson said.  “You can kind of see it with the way we’ve run the ball the last couple of weeks and Peyton’s been able to throw the ball and just use different things.”

For all the injuries on the Colts’ offense, the team is still third in points and fourth in yards this season.  They have cohesion up front and better balance on offense.

This isn’t a perfect Colts team, but the ones that made the Super Bowl weren’t perfect either.    With a newly balanced offense, they appear to be peaking at the right time.

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38 responses to “The improving Colts running game should scare the AFC

  1. Much as I hate to disagree— they just don’t have the healthy weapons to compete this year. Anyone who was watching saw what a difference Collie made. Without him or Clark or someone who can be relied upon to run precise routes and catch the ball in the middle—they’re screwed. Blair Witch and Tamme couldn’t make any other teams practice squad.

    Yeah they’ll probably beat the Titans and probably win the first round game at home—-but that is their max potential this year.

  2. frankvzappa says:
    Dec 30, 2010 4:40 PM
    Brady, Woodhead, Green-Ellis > Manning, schmucks
    See 2007 AFC Championship game.

  3. First things first, my Colts need to MAKE the playoffs before they can be a threat in them. I, for one, am not looking past Tennessee.

    Having said that, the return of the running game has been a pleasant surprise.

  4. #
    jvillenole says: Dec 30, 2010 5:12 PM

    Lets not get carried away. They have pretty much been playing with a lead for the last three weeks. We will see what happens when they fall behind.

    Only a moron from Jacksonville would say something like this.

    Is it at all possible they had the lead the last 3 weeks due to those running backs?


    P.S. The Raider game was a close one the entire game… they did not have the lead the entire game.

  5. Yep. As a pats fan I’m certainly frightened by elements of the Colts offense that don’t involve INTs. I guess we’ll see.

  6. Despite the Colts missing weapons they were still able to put up an NFL Best Passing Offense and have had some key players step into their roles.

    Only 7 teams have more Rushing TDs. The Colts have as many or more than Pittsburgh, Baltimore, NY Jets, Atlanta to name a few teams despite missing Addai and Hart for almost half the season and Brown for a stint.

    Tamme has stepped up in a major way. He went on a 4-5 game stretch where he was one of the most productive TEs in the League in Yards and Recs immediately after Clark went down.

    The Collie loss was big, but he hasn’t played in 2 months and only played a quarter and a half when he did return.

    Peyton is still Peyton and is likely going to set a Single Season Completions record, 33+ TDs, and an NFL best 4,500 yards.

    Might not have the most complete team they’ve ever had, but if they win on Sunday they’ll take a 4 game win streak into January with a Home Game and either the 3 or 4 seed. Definitely not a team to overlook with the Playoff experience they have.

  7. Uno Ocho will get the Blue past the Titans thiis Sunday, and then anything can happen. I’m ready to see my two teams, The Bears and The Colts back in the Bowl!!

  8. cue the anti colt comments by patriot fans. i don’t get you guys. this past decade you have pretty much always had the colts number when it has mattered. the only exception is the 2006 season afc championship game. get over yourselves.

  9. PFT should not be in a rush to annoint the colts rushing attack!!! rhodes got yards against the raiders without seymour in the mix!! they will not have that luxury in the playoffs!! they will play against better run defenses. They are a passing team and they also will not get the bs PI calls like they got in the raider game in the playoffs– the refs will likely let them play.
    also as another posted , the game was alot closer than the score seemed.

  10. The Colts are defending AFC champs. They will win on Sunday. They will host a playoff game as division champions. Manning can beat the Patriots.

    So yeah, there is nothing about them that says “one and done” or “easy out”.

  11. Tom Brady will win the MVP, The Superbowl and beat the Colts if they make it to Foxborough??
    Is Peyton really Peyton in the elements??? Guess will find out?
    I wouldn’t say scared, concerned. It’s a couple of games against the Jags and Raiders! Let’s not get carried away!
    Anybody know Peyton’s road record in the Play offs?? 2-6 something like that? Last time I saw him on the road in Foxborough at play off time it wasn’t pretty…even with a running game???
    Spikes will be back so the middle will get tightened up. Let’s just say curious…and leave it at that!

  12. guyraider48-Bs PI calls? Seriously? Did you even WATCH the game?

    Try watching a game sometime, you may just learn something.

  13. As someone said already, first, Indy has to get into the playoffs. This is a season for the Colts where nothing is a certainty. That being said, with the reemergence of the running game, and the D doing a good job of stopping the run, they can be dangerous. They’re flying under the radar, that’s for sure.

  14. The Colts look more scrappy this season than in recent memory, which I think is good for them. I’m not predicting them to represent the AFC in the superbowl…but when #18 if your quarterback you can beat anybody.

  15. I think its worth noting that the last time the Colts looked this bad they won the Super Bowl.

    Seriously in 2006 everyone said they would be one and done because they couldn’t stop the run, the rest is history.

    Having said that, the Colts have looked pretty bad this year and have gutted out wins the last two weeks without looking particularly impressive.

    But still, only a fool would discount a team led by a great quarterback in the playoffs.

    Blarch… INTs are those things where your quarterback throws the ball and the other team catches it. You guys wouldn’t know about those. Brady has earned MVP this year, I believe.

    Man that tasted bad.

  16. As a Pats fan, I can think of a few bogus PI calls in favor of Mr. Pick six Manning. One in the 4th and 2 game last year when Collie pushed off and was called on Pats. Led directly to a TD. 2006 AFC championship came, another bogus call for Wayne in the end zone on 4th down against Samuel. Not only were these calls bogus, it limits what the DB’s can do as they become timid because they know the refs are given the plum assignments by Polian. The league hates the Pats, because GODell (Jets employee) and Polian, hold way to much power.

  17. Yawn

    The Colts will get bounced by the Ravens in the first round and Pey Pey’s media sycophants will have to find another person to drool over.

  18. hoopsdoc–you are entitled to your opinion– but actually i have watched every raider game (sunday ticket) as well as many others a sunday and monday etc. when a defender is looking at the ball and making a play for it, IMO !!is not PI too me and not to most officials. granted they are judgement call .
    Those same type plays in other games get called 50% of time!!

  19. This is truly laughable. The Steelers or Ravens have good running games. And good run defenses. Don’t think the Colts could get a 100 yards on either of them.

  20. Happy, educated and employed Pats fan here. You always have to respect Manning, but despite all the deserved regular season accolades and gaudy win-loss, the post season achievements just don’t add up. With Clark and Collie out I expect the same again this year. Those are really tough guys to be without. Numbers don’t lie, in the best of times Manning just isn’t a great post season QB, merely average.

  21. That’s right. You Patriot fans should be scared. The only team that worries me are the Steelers. It’s going to be a good post-season and you better believe that my Colts are going to be right there breathing down everyone’s necks.

    Three down. Five to go!

    GO COLTS!!!

  22. Absolutely, all Peyton Manning needs is some offensive balance and then the Colts offense is formidable. I wouldn’t underestimate the Colts. I know the Steelers won’t.

  23. @ cornellsteelers

    The colts will be bounced by the ravens huh?? Hows that worked out the last 9 TIMES THEYVE PLAYED EACH OTHER???

    And when the Colts beat them, you “experts” wont give Peyton any credit, you’ll just say “the colts always beat the ravens, its no big deal”

    Same s—, different year. You morons never change!

  24. And I love how you Pats fans bring up PEYTON’S postseason record, like its just him playing by himself against teams in the playoffs! The Colts arent good enough to win the Super Bowl every single year, no one is. So of course they are going to lose playoff games. The guys a phenominal qb and he doesnt choke and you know it. Put him on the Pats and hed have just as many rings as Tommy Buttchin…probably more!

  25. Realistic Colts fan here. No illusions or high expectations. However, reminder to “cornellsteelers:” Manning is 7-0 vs. Baltimore. Al I know is the one team I really fear, San Diego, ain’t around. Pats are the favorites…they should be…just like they were when they lost…to Eli Manning. Enjoy that role, guys. You can have it. No pressure on Indy at all this year.

  26. Quarterback A has a better Post season QB Rating than Quarterback B, but Quarterback B has a better winning %. What does that tell you? A) Quarterback A has out performed Quarterback B when it comes to the individual position? B) Quarterback B has been helped with mis-adapted tucking calls,
    C) Quarterback B has had an outstanding kicker while Quarterback A has had a drunk liquored up kicker.
    D) Quarterback A hasn’t had to play against his own defense, which owns him regularly when they scrimmage 1’s vs. 1’s.
    E) All of the above.

    E it is.

  27. obsession55
    The guys a phenominal qb and he doesnt choke and you know it. Put him on the Pats and hed have just as many rings as Tommy Buttchin…probably more!

    Did you watch the SuperBowl last year???

    Manning has thrown as many picks in one game, than Brady has thrown all season!!!
    C ya in snowy, windy and cold Foxborough, if you make it that far! Fars as this QB a, QB b stuff….How about having 8 games every year in a dome, think that effects QB a’s numbers.
    How much better would Brady’s number’s be if he was indoors 8 times every year??? Brady put up his numbers outdoors in the snow, wind and cold. That makes his accomplishments even more special.
    I’d like to see Mr. Perfect Manning on a North East team. His numbers would be ok and that’s it! I’ll take 12 any day and twice on Sunday!!!

  28. @ grpatriot

    Brady is from California, you think he likes playing in the cold?? There isnt 1 player in the NFL who likes it, but if theyre forced to play in it they adapt to it. You really think if Peyton played in Buffalo for example, he wouldnt be able to handle the elements?? Thats a weak argument and I’m sure you know it

    And speaking of Super Bowl losses…look what happened when “Mr. Perfect”played a team that actually PUT PRESSURE ON HIM!! Thatd be the Giants. 18 and 1!

  29. Raiders game was a laugh! Nice FGs! Nice losing season again!

    Pats, nice season but you know deep down inside you want no part of Peyton in the playoffs. If you play the Colts you will lose, period. They have owned you. And I’m a Steelers fan! You need us to beat them. And we will if we face them. How many Super Bowls have you won Pats? Check our Super Bowl record!

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