'YOU HAVE TO RUN THE FOOTBALL'The Colts' running back trio of Dominic Rhodes, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown propelled Indianapolis to a 31-26 victory over the Raiders Sunday afternoon and combined for a team season-high 191 yards on the ground.
Indianapolis' rushing attack picked up where it left off after last week's 155-yard performance against Jacksonville. The Colts' rushing performance marked the first time the team ran for more 150 yards in consecutive games since 2006. The Oakland game marked the first time since 2007 the club had more rushing yards than passing yards in an outing.
Recognized by Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach John Madden for last week's performance against the Jaguars with the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, the Colts offensive line continued to open holes for the three backs on Sunday.
And that, according to Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne, makes the Colts multi-dimensional. And that, he said, makes his job easier.
"The offensive line the last couple of weeks has answered the bell and just stepped up to the challenge and made us a running team," said Wayne. "We are definitely going to have to keep it that way. It makes defenses have to be honest, (and) nobody can just sit back and play pass."
Brown led the Colts last week with 129 yards, but it was Rhodes—who joined the Colts for the third time in his career three weeks ago—who led Indianapolis Sunday with 98 yards on 17 carries against Oakland, where he spent the 2007 season.
"Like the coaches said, this was a playoff game, and you know what you have to do in the playoffs, you have to run the football," said Rhodes. "I think the line took that upon their shoulders along with us running backs. We are just trying to go out and show people what we can do because they are always talking about what we can't do."
Addai finished his first series of the afternoon with a burst through the right side of the offensive line for a 6-yard touchdown. The score was his first since Oct. 17 at Washington and his fourth of the season.
"It was a confidence-builder, and all of the running backs today did a great job," Addai said of his score. "With either running back that goes in, (they) can get the job done."
'A COLLECTIVE EFFORT'Indianapolis' run defense held the league's No. 2-ranked rushing attack to 80 yards on 20 carries Sunday afternoon after limiting Jacksonville's third-ranked rushing attack last week to 67 yards.
Sixty yards came in the first half Sunday, as Indianapolis allowed only 20 more on eight carries in the final two quarters.
The Colts corralled Oakland running back Darren McFadden, limiting him to 45 yards on 11 carries for the day, with much of that coming on a 26-yard gain in the first half.
"Our coaches had a great game plan for us and we just came out focused and unified as a defense," Colts defensive tackle Fili Moala said. "Anytime you can hold a running back of the caliber of (Maurice) Jones-Drew and (Darren) McFadden under 100 (yards), that just goes to show how it was a collective effort from the secondary to the linebackers to the defensive front. We played together as a team and a unified defense, and you see the outcome."
The Colts defense held Oakland to three consecutive three-and-outs and allowed the Raiders nine yards with no first downs in the first quarter.
Of the Raiders' 14 possessions, Indianapolis held them to six three-and-outs and one four-play-and-out-drive for the game, and allowed Oakland to convert only four-of-15 third-down attempts.
Oakland's offense managed just four field goals and one touchdown Sunday, that touchdown coming with 1:51 remaining in the game.
RELENTLESS PRESSURE Robert Mathis recorded sack number 10.5 of the season in the first quarter Sunday, marking the fourth 10-sack season of his career. He combined with linebacker Gary Brackett for another half-sack in the fourth quarter, increasing his seasonal total to 11.
Dwight Freeney recorded his 93rd career sack in the third quarter and now has the most sacks by an active player in the NFL since 2002, passing the New York Jets' Jason Taylor.
Mathis and Freeney combined for five quarterback hits Sunday, helping the defense hold the Raiders to less than 300 total yards.
Entering the game, the Colts defense ranked sixth in the AFC and 11th in the NFL in passing yardage allowed with a 209.5 average. The Colts held Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell to 231 yards passing, with 91 of those coming on Oakland's final drive.
HORSE HIGHLIGHTS -Reggie Wayne became the 11th player in NFL history with back-to-back 100-plus-catch seasons.
-It marked Wayne's third career 100-plus-catch season. He became the 7th NFL player in NFL history with three or more career 100-plus-catch seasons.
-Peyton Manning (423) passed Rich Gannon (418) for the second-most completions in a season in NFL history.
-Manning passed for 2,605 yards in eight road games this season, the fifth-highest seasonal road total in NFL history.
-Manning recorded his sixth career 30-plus-TD season.
-Tight end Jacob Tamme has 60 receptions in 2010, the third-highest seasonal receptions total by a Colts tight end in franchise history (100, Dallas Clark, 2009; 77, Clark, 2008).
-Pat McAfee had six punts for a 42.8-yard average.
-Dominic Rhodes averaged 24.6 yards on five kickoff returns.
-Dwight Freeney needs one sack for his seventh career 10-plus-sack season.