When the Colts traded a first-round pick to Cleveland early this season for running back Trent Richardson, it’s a safe bet that their plan wasn’t to have Richardson coming off the bench in December.
Unfortunately for the Colts, that’s how things have played out this season and Richardson was the No. 2 back behind Donald Brown against Tennessee in Sunday’s 22-14 Indianapolis win. When asked about the reason for the change, Pagano played up Brown’s performance rather than Richardson’s dismal production since joining the Colts this season.
“We just felt [Brown] earned the opportunity,” Pagano said, via Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star. “Donnie earned the opportunity the way he was working and running the football. Felt like, we’re still going to use two backs, but [Brown] earned the opportunity.”
As for Richardson, Pagano said that he “handled it awesome” when he was informed that Brown would be taking the starting role on Sunday. Brown ran 14 times for 54 yards and a touchdown on Sunday, numbers that weren’t staggering but they were an uptick on Richardson’s recent work and they came in a much-needed win for the Colts. That should be enough to keep the same setup at running back again next weekend.