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Pagano, Luck Want Re-Established Run Game

Posted Nov 11, 2013

An 18-point halftime deficit at Houston meant only four running plays in the second half a week ago. An early 21-point deficit Sunday against St. Louis found Indianapolis rushing for 18 yards in a 30-point loss. Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck both want a return to a balanced rushing attack.



INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts began the season with 100-yard rushing efforts in five straight games, a franchise first since 1988, and it was only the third time the Colts have accomplished it in 30 seasons.

 

In the first four games of 2013, the Colts set an Indianapolis era with four straight outings with 25-plus rushes and a 4.5-yard average.

 

Following a 29-rush, 109-yard effort in a week five comeback win over Seattle, there have been ebbs and flows.

 

Indianapolis had a 4.4 average on 17 attempts in a 48-snap loss at San Diego.  Indianapolis had 31 rushes and a 3.9 average in beating Denver, 39-33.

 

Two weeks ago, however, the Colts fell in a 21-3 halftime hole at Houston and rushed four times for four yards in the second half.  Three of those runs came on the Colts’ final possession in a 27-24 win as they forced Houston to burn two timeouts.

 

Sunday against St. Louis, the Colts fell behind early by 21 points and ran on 14-of-69 snaps, gaining 18 yards.  That means over the past six quarters Indianapolis has 18 rushes in 102 plays.

 

The third-fewest yards in franchise history yesterday included no rushing first downs in only the sixth such game in Colts history.  It is a phase of the game the Colts know is critical.

 

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“We realized how important the run game is to our success,” said Andrew Luck.  “Credit the Rams again for doing a great job against that.  We’ll improve, and we’re looking forward to the Titans.”

 

The Colts are down five offensive players, including two running backs (Vick Ballard, Ahmad Bradshaw) and Reggie Wayne, whose loss Pagano and Luck feel is impactful.

 

“Losing a guy like Reggie, you can’t replace a guy like that, not only his leadership qualities but his production obviously on the field,” said Pagano.  “Guys have been pressed into action and they got to respond.”

 

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Wayne was on the field at San Diego, a 60-minute struggle that saw the Colts run a three combined times in the second and fourth quarters of a game they never led.  Hurting also was a two-for-10 third-down conversion total.

 

In its first game without Wayne, Indianapolis fell behind at Houston, 21-3, failing to convert a third down until the third quarter, a time where the scoreboard mandated an aggressive approach.

 

The rushing game was the victim, though Luck tossed touchdown passes on three successive drives to pull out the win.

 

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An early deficit to St. Louis as the result of touchdowns by every Rams unit caused the Colts to divert from the run again, attempting seven rushes over the final 45 minutes.  Prior to then, Indianapolis had only three yards on seven attempts.

 

“Our inability to run the football of late hurts your football team,” said Pagano.  “Time of possession, your three-and-out field position, the defense is having to play more, it affects so many different things.

 

“Our ability to run the football and stop the run is paramount, and we got to get back to doing that.”

 

Ironically, Indianapolis has more rushes (74) in the fourth quarter than any other this year, but only seven of those came in the San Diego, Houston and St. Louis outings.  The bulk (42) came in a three-game winning streak over San Francisco, Jacksonville and Seattle.

 

Indianapolis Colts Rushing Output By Game and Quarters (Att.-Yds.-Avg.)

Game Total

Opponent

First

Second

Third

Fourth

26-127-4.9

Oakland

5-21-4.2

5-18-3.6

10-57-5.7

6-31-5.2

26-133-5.1

Miami

7-36-5.1

7-38-5.4

5-14-2.8

7-45-6.4

40-184-4.6

@S.F.

6-31-5.2

10-39-3.9

8-41-5.1

16-73-4.6

30-157-5.2

@Jax

6-30-5.0

7-81-11.6

5-9-1.8

12-37-3.1

29-109-3.8

Seattle

4-8-2.0

5-21-4.2

6-44-7.3

14-36-2.6

17-74-4.4

@S.D.

6-21-3.5

3-13-4.3

8-40-5.0

0-0-0.0

31-121-3.9

Denver

6-23-3.8

6-25-4.2

7-25-3.6

12-48-4.0

14-69-4.9

@Houston

7-48-6.9

3-17-5.7

1-5-5.0

3-(-1)-(-0.3)

14-18-1.3

St. Louis

7-(-3)-(-0.4)

2-8-4.0

1-5-5.0

4-8-2.0

227-992-4.4

Total

54-215-4.0

48-260-5.4

51-240-4.7

74-277-3.7

 

Indianapolis was put in one-dimensional positions in games against the Chargers, Texans and Rams, and pressure on Luck in the last two games has resulted in seven sacks and 18 hits.

 

Having 17 second-half rushes in those three games, plus a 22.9 third-down success rate (8-of-35), the Colts seek improvement for the seven remaining games.

 

“We’ll continue to look at every area of our football team and address things that need to be addressed, whatever it is,” said Pagano.  “We’re going to do whatever is best for this football team and whatever gives us the best chance to win a football game.”

ROSTER MOVES – The Colts elevated WR-Da’Rick Rogers from the practice squad and signed wide receiver Josh Lenz to the practice squad.  The team also waived-injured safety Larry Asante, who will revert to injured reserve if clearing waivers.

 

Rogers, 6-3, 215, had 139 receptions for 2,100 yards and 21 touchdowns in 36 collegiate games played.  Rogers played two seasons at Tennessee (2010-11) before transferring to Tennessee Tech (2012).

 

PRACTICE REPORT – Did not participate:  NT-Josh Chapman (knee), CB-Josh Gordy (groin), S-Delano Howell (neck), OG-Mike McGlynn (thumb), CB-Greg Toler (groin).

 

Pagano said McGlynn has a fractured thumb that will be put in a cast.  McGlynn is day-to-day.  Howell, Gordy and Toler are trending toward health, but there is no timetable for a return.

 


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