INDIANAPOLIS — Coming into Week 15, the Dallas Cowboys had only allowed one opposing running back to eclipse 100 yards rushing in 2018. On Sunday, Marlon Mack became the second.
The Indianapolis Colts' lead running back, on his way to a career day, accumulated 139 yards on 27 carries — both career highs — as well as two rushing touchdowns, which also ties a personal best. Mack is the first running back to go for at least 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns against Dallas since 2015.
So what was Mack doing that was so successful on Sunday?
"One of the things that people don't see with Marlon is just how patient he is with the holes," Colts center Ryan Kelly told reporters after the game. "He knows where the hole's gonna be. I think he trusts that we're gonna move our guys out of the way to get to there. It's just been so much fun, man, him running behind us."
Colts fans have become accustomed to seeing Mack make big plays, especially this season behind the Colts' reinforced offensive line, and Sunday was no different as he compiled six plays of at least 10 yards.
In Mack's breakout campaign, this was his third 100-yard game of the season, and it came after not achieving the mark since Week 8 on the back end of back-to-back 100-yard performances.
Sunday, Mack became just the third player in Colts franchise history to have multiple games with at least 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns within the same season, joining Eric Dickerson (1987) and Edgerrin James (1999 and 2005) as the only other to do so.
ALIE-COX, KELLY'S RETURN HELP PAVE THE WAY
Before the matchup, the Cowboys were third in the NFL in overall run defense at 86.8 yards allowed per game and were tied for first in yards per carry allowed (3.6 avg). The Colts flipped the script on Sunday and ran for 178 yards and 4.6 yards per carry.
A big part of Mack and the Colts being able to run the ball at a high level again was the return of both Kelly and Alie-Cox, both of whom missed the Colts' last three weeks with injuries.
"We knew we have the ability to run the ball; we've done it against some of the top defenses in the league all year coming in," tight end Mo Alie-Cox said. "The past couple weeks, we haven't been up to par, so that was a big focus. We worked on it a lot in practice, and the emphasis we put on it in practice showed up in the game.
"Credit to the coaches, they put us in positions to be successful," Alie-Cox said. "Credit to Joe (Haeg) being able to play so many different positions, that helps us to be flexible. And then me coming back, it brings an element of surprise because they don't know we're always running the ball."
Kelly, who makes the offensive line calls and makes sure everyone is picking up who they should be, was a sight for his quarterback's sore eyes on Sunday.
"Ryan, he's a difference-maker. He's an elite center. He's an elite offensive lineman in this league. (I) really enjoy playing with him," Luck said after the game. "I thought Evan (Boehm) did an outstanding job in his place, I really did. We've got seven, eight, nine, 10 guys that can play. It's really cool. You also seen Joe Haeg step up into (Mark) Glowinski's place and not miss a beat. It was a very tough defense who are very good statistically against the run and we managed to do some good things on the ground, and that was really positive for us as an offense."