Addai Leads the Way in 27-17 Victory Over Tennessee
INDIANAPOLIS – While his team has made a habit of winning this season, Colts running back Joseph Addai has come up with a routine of his own this year.
Moving the chains and finding the end zone.
Whether it's a rush up the middle, a catch in the flat or even a pass – as he did in Week 8 against San Francisco – Addai is finding a will, and a way, to do a little bit of everything for the Colts this season.
On Sunday, the Colts' starting running back was at it again, rushing for two first-half touchdowns, which proved to be the difference in the team's 27-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
"He has done a tremendous job of keeping his nose to the grindstone," Colts Head Coach Jim Caldwell said. "He's finding seams, keeping his shoulders square and getting upfield. You can tell he feels good from a physical standpoint. He's running hard, smart and he's been very, very effective in our offense."
As they have in recent weeks, the Colts turned to Addai early and often against the Titans, giving their familiar foes a heavy dose of the run game.
The fourth-year veteran carried the ball 12 times for 44 yards before halftime and capped off two scoring drives with rushing touchdowns (8, 1).
In the second half, the Colts kept the ball in Addai's hands and out of the Titans, rushing Addai nine times more and picking up yards on the ground and ticking time down off the clock.
"The biggest thing is when they call your number you have to answer," Addai said. "I don't look at it like, 'Okay, it's third down, Joe, let's go get it.' I'm trying to get it on every play. That's my mindset. It's never about, 'Okay, this is the money down.' I think if you keep working on the small things, stuff like that happens."
Addai only has carried the ball 20 or more times in a game three times this season – including season-highs of 21 carries for 79 yards Sunday – but Colts center Jeff Saturday said Addai has been "fantastic" when called upon.
"When he gets his opportunities he's busting it and he's making it happen," Saturday said. "Lately he's been in that 4.0-4.5 yards per carry range, and that's our goal, maybe even a little bit above the goal."
Over his last five games, Addai is averaging 4.1 yards per carry and has scored five rushing touchdowns.
"He's doing just a great job of hunting the end zone," Saturday said. "He's getting downfield, running guys over and taking them into the end zone with him, and that's a big deal."
What might be an even bigger deal is Addai's ability to pick up first downs. The Colts running back tied his season-high with five rushes for first downs last week against Houston and is moving the chains on one-fifth of his carries this season.
"Last week against Houston, 4th-and-1, he gets hit behind the line, hops forward and gets the first down," Saturday said. "Today, we had a first down, he just put his head down and mauled over someone on 3rd-and-short.
"Those are the things he's doing for us right now, and they are priceless in a game," Saturday said. "Continuing drives, keeping (our opponent's) defense on the field and keeping ours on the sideline. All of those are big plays to an offense."
Like the rest of his teammates in the Colts locker room, Addai said he is willing to do whatever it takes to help his team to victory.
"I'm doing whatever the team wants me to do, that's the biggest thing," Addai said. "I want to be a team player. That's what you have on this team, everybody comes together to be a team player. There is no 'I'. Everybody is doing what they're doing for the team."
Addai's two rushing scores Sunday give him 33 for his career, passing former Colt and Hall-of-Fame member Eric Dickerson for seventh-most in franchise history. The two touchdowns also marked Addai's sixth multiple-rushing touchdown game of his career.
His 12 all-purpose touchdowns this season rank second in the NFL and trail league-leader Maurice Jones-Drew by only one, despite having 50 less touches than the fellow AFC South back.
But Addai said he does not have much use for stats. In fact, there is only one statistical category the running back cares for.
"You want the wins," he said. "Yes, you would love 100 yards here, 100 yards there. Don't get me wrong, I'm human. I want those. But I feel like … if I did everything I was supposed to do, I'm good."
And so are the Colts.
• Continuing to prove himself as a reliable option in the Colts' high-octane offense, second-year wide receiver Pierre Garcon had a career day Sunday – almost in the first quarter alone. Garcon racked up three catches and 99 receiving yards in the first period and finished with six catches for a career-high 136 yards.
• One week after scoring the first touchdown of his career on a pick-six against Houston, linebacker Clint Session had another standout performance against Tennessee. Session, the team's leading tackler on the season, finished with 13 tackles, his second-highest total of the season, and one forced fumble.
• Defensive adjustments at the half continue to benefit the Colts. In their 11 games leading up to Sunday's, the Colts defense had given up just 17 points in the third quarter all season. Against Tennessee, the Colts continued their third-period prowess, shutting out the Titans in the quarter.
• The Colts turned in another crucial goal-line stand, Sunday, this time stopping the Titans after they moved the ball to Indianapolis' 1.