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Indianapolis Colts

Is C.J. Anderson, not Peyton Manning, the 1st priority for the Colts defense?

Colts safety Mike Adams has a close relationship with the Broncos RB and has noticed his production of late.

INDIANAPOLIS --- Colts safety Mike Adams was with the Broncos last year when they lost the Super Bowl to the Seahawks and still keeps in touch with his former teammates. One of those teammates he's close with is Denver running back C.J. Anderson, who has taken over an increasingly potent Broncos rushing attack.

"He's a young guy. He was one of the young free agents. I kind of took him under my wing," said Adams of his relationship with Anderson this week. "I just told him things to look out for and told him things to keep working (on) and keep grinding. Just because he's a free agent, I always try to look out for my free agent guys.'

Like Anderson, Adams came into the league as an undrafted free agent with the 49ers in 2004. As he's kept tabs on Anderson this season, he's well aware how big a part of the offense he's become in Denver, as Indianapolis prepares to go there Sunday in the divisional round of the playoffs.

"They're running the ball more. C.J., he's doing a great job over there. I talk to him a lot," said Adams. "I commend him on the job he's doing over there given (fellow Broncos running backs Montee Ball and Ronnie Hillman) went out."

Anderson has averaged more than 23 carries per game for 4.6 yards per carry in the 6 games since Denver's 22-7 week 11 loss at St. Louis. He has 8 rushing touchdowns over that span. In the past four games alone, Anderson has 7 touchdowns. By comparison, Peyton Manning has just three touchdowns and six interceptions in Denver's final four regular season games.

"The biggest thing is stopping the run before you can get to (Manning)," said Colts defensive end Cory Redding. "We got to focus on that. That's where all our attention is going to go. Then when it's time to focus on 18, our coaches will draw up a good game plan, and we'll attack it the best way possible."

It's not just Anderson's rushing ability either. Like the Colts backs, the Broncos like to utilize theirs in the passing game as well. Anderson may have averaged 108 yards per game on the ground over the last six weeks of the regular season, but he also averaged another three receptions per game for 7.3 yards per catch.

But for all that Anderson has done to revamp the Denver offense over the past month and a half…

"Peyton is still Peyton," said Adams, after his praise of Anderson. "I don't know about all these rumors that he's not the same, because he's not throwing for 300 yards. Peyton is Peyton."

4,727 yards, 39 touchdowns, and only 15 interceptions will make you say that, especially in a place where Manning hasn't lost a game since week 15 last year to San Diego.

The Colts defense though is confident, starting with its run stopping, where it held DeMarco Murray to 2.6 yards per carry, Arian Foster to 3.8 yards per carry, and Jeremy Hill to 3.6 yards per carry in recent weeks.

As its done often this season, including week 1 when it held the Broncos to just 7 points in the 2nd half, the Colts defense will do its best to give Andrew Luck a chance to win the game. That appears to again start with stopping the run.


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