Colts Rush for Season-High 154 Yards in Victory over Houston Texans
INDIANAPOLIS – All season, they persevered.
And while running back Joseph Addai said there have been difficult days this season, Sunday afternoon was not such a day for the Colts running game.
Far from it.
Addai, a two-time 1,000-yard rusher and a 2007 Pro Bowl selection, on Sunday rushed for more than 100 yards for the first time in more than a year, and the Colts turned in a season-high 154 yards rushing in a 33-27 victory over the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Addai rushed for 105 yards on 22 carries.
"It gets frustrating, but you still have to stick with it," Addai said Sunday after rushing for a third-quarter touchdown catching a touchdown pass in the same period to help the Colts turn a halftime deficit into their third consecutive come-from-behind victory.
"That's the biggest thing, just coming back after games, coming in on Wednesday and getting refocused and getting it going into the direction you want to go in.
"The biggest thing is getting a win. We were able to do that."
Said Colts right tackle Ryan Diem, "You can't be one-dimensional in this league. Everybody knows that. It's no secret. If you're going to be throwing every down, it can get ugly. They'll starting bringing the house and dropping everybody back to try to prevent the pass.
"It was fun to get some long drives with a lot of runs."
The Colts, who consistently have ranked in the Top 20 in the NFL in rushing through the last decade, entered Sunday's game ranked 32nd in the NFL at 69.2 yards per game. No team that ranked last in the NFL in rushing has made the playoffs since New England in 1986.
Before Sunday's game, their previous high for the season came in a Week 3 loss to Jacksonville when they rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries.
"Nothing different," Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy said. "We ran the same plays. We blocked. Our passing game was going good, so we got little more two deep safeties that gave you a chance to run the ball some, especially down in the red zone. We knew we'd get some double coverage."
The Colts rushed for 117 yards in the second half, a half that Colts running back Dominic Rhodes said was about perseverance.
"Today, we came out and established ourselves," said Rhodes, who rushed for 45 yards on nine second-half carries. "In the first half, they were coming pretty hard. They were getting the better of us. In the second half, we imposed our will and played some good ball."
Dungy said that was particularly true on the Colts' final drive. With the Texans playing less two-deep zone and focused on the run, Dungy said the Colts continued to run effectively. Indianapolis produced five first downs on the drive and drained 7:02 from the clock.
"The good thing was our last drive, when they were coming down, we were still able to run the ball and take some time off the clock, so that was encouraging to see," Dungy said. "Joseph's feeling better, and I think he and Dom both were running the ball well, running hard. We got that rotation in where both of them got some carries.
"Our passing game was clicking and we got more looks we could run against. That's half of it. When we're hitting on all cylinders, when you're ahead, you're able to run the ball a little more effectively. Joseph ran well today."
And because of that, Addai said the Colts left Sunday's game with a better feeling than they had most days this season.
"We are human," Addai said. "Sixty minutes on the field, you focus, but when you go home, it's like, 'Man, I wish this could have happened or that could have happened,' but everything happens for a reason. Now, we're just trying to win games.
"Everybody was on the same page, and we were able to get a win."
Said Colts center Jeff Saturday, "It's something we need to do. We need to be consistent doing it. It's one game we've done it, so obviously, I look to next week. We've got to keep this thing going and keep battling it.
"Guys mentally took it upon themselves to understand that sometimes it's going to be ugly in the running game. It's just not always going to be pretty. You just have to keep righting, and keep dragging and kicking guys down. Our backs saw the holes. They were making some great cuts and making us look good.
"We were knocking guys off the ball as well. All of those things combine to make your running game what you want it to be. I'm hoping it's the start of something we keep going with."