Colts Rushing Game Improves at Washington
Colts running back Joseph Addai and the Colts rushing attack seem to be building momentum heading into the bye week.
With his 128-yard game Sunday night in the Colts' 27-24 win at Washington, Addai averaged 7.5 yards a carry and surpassed 100-plus yards for the eighth time in his career. He also passed Randy McMillan for eighth on the Colts career rushing list.
With 406 yards rushing, Addai this season is off to the second-best start of his career through six games. He gained 492 yards in the first six games of 2007, the year he received his first Pro Bowl honors after accumulating 1,072 yards on the ground. Currently, Addai stands tied for seventh in the AFC and 13th in the NFL in rushing, and he also has three touchdowns.
Running backs Donald Brown and Mike Hart also have seen production this season, reaching single-game career-highs in both yards and carries. Brown totaled 16 carries for 69 yards in the Colts' 38-14 win over the Giants on September 19 in Week Two, while Hart has rushed for a combined 93 yards on 22 carries the last two weeks.
Indianapolis' rushing attack is averaging 94.8 yards per game and totaled a season-high 170 yards in its 27-24 win against Washington. The effort was the most for the team since September of 2007 and according to Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell, the linemen up front should be given an equal amount of credit for the performance.
"I think that what helped the run game is that our offensive linemen did a tremendous job," Caldwell said on Monday. "I think they took the challenge of really making certain that they wanted to run the ball well against particularly the looks that teams are giving us nowadays. I think they did a tremendous job. Those guys played hard and well together and certainly gave Joseph and Mike some opportunities to run, created some creases and I think did a very, very good job."
According to Colts players, the offense recently has seen more nickel and dime defensive packages than they are used to, a scheme designed to try to slow down the Colts passing attack. But it is a plan that Colts offensive linemen said suits them just fine.
"It is kind of fulfilling to know we can do it, we just have to be consistent with it," Colts offensive tackle Charlie Johnson said. "(Sunday) night (against Washington) we were fortunate enough to get in a rhythm. We were able to get in a rhythm and establish it and it is something that we built on through the game. But every week is not going to be like that. It just depends on what the defense does."
If defenses continue to load up on secondary personnel, count on quarterback Peyton Manning and the offense to take what is given to them, especially if they continue to have the kind of success they had at Washington.
"Obviously (Washington) played us in a lot of nickel and prevent defenses and we took advantage of it in the run game," Colts center Jeff Saturday Monday. "I thought Joe and Mike both did a great job on their cuts and breaks. We blocked them up well up front."