INDIANAPOLIS --- Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw is beginning to compliment starting running back Frank Gore more and more with each passing week, highlighted by his three touchdowns in the past two games, and it's how he's scoring that is so familiar to his team.
Bradshaw's two scores at Atlanta and first touchdown of the year against Denver came through the air, as a receiver out of the backfield in the red zone. That after Bradshaw was on pace to break the NFL record of nine receiving touchdowns by a running back last year before fracturing his leg. He finished with 6 receiving touchdowns in 10 games.
"They just put me in those opportunities. (Rob Chudzinski) is a great offensive coordinator," said Bradshaw, after the 24-21 win over the Falcons. "He just studies the other teams and just puts me in those situations."
Bradshaw's head coach sees more than that though, giving credit to Bradshaw himself as well, after re-joining the Colts mid-season in the middle of week 6.
"We all know how much Ahmad loves to play this game. Again, he's another guy that plays with great passion and great energy and toughness," said Chuck Pagano Monday. "He's starting to get his legs back underneath him. He just keeps getting better with every week."
Bradshaw has quickly carved out a role, spelling Frank Gore on obvious passing downs, due in large part because he's as good in pass protection as Gore is.
"He's been a big part of our third-down package now. He's the main guy in there. He does a great job in protections," said Pagano. "Then obviously he's a threat out of the backfield as far as the check downs and the option route he scored on the second touchdown (against the Falcons), the screen that he scored on. He's doing a great job."
Gore is still the starting running back for the Colts, but Bradshaw is playing as hard as ever, with the toughness he's been known for his entire career.
"Frank (Gore) is our lead dog right now carrying the football," said Pagano. "When Frank got nicked up a little bit here and there (in Atlanta), got his quad hit and then an ankle, (Gore) runs so damn hard that it seems like every play he has a hard time pulling himself up off the carpet. Ahmad has been able to come in and he runs hard. He runs physical. He runs angry and he plays with a chip on his shoulder."
"I've just been able to get open on a lot of passes and had those opportunities," said Bradshaw, who has5 receptions for 28 yards and three touchdowns over his past two games, after averaging 7.9 yards per catch in 2014. "I just take advantage of them."
Now, the Colts have a legitimate one-two punch in the backfield.