INDIANAPOLIS –When Trent Richardson joined the Colts in a trade just prior to the third game, the inevitable challenge of learning a new offense on the fly was real, quite real.
Richardson entered Sunday's game with 326 rushing yards and a 2.9 average and behind Donald Brown on the depth chart.
Against Houston, Richardson played at blocking back and split wide in the offense and when Brown exited early with a stinger, he wound up rushing 19 times for a season-high 64 yards.
With four receptions for 38 yards, Richardson had a season-best 102 scrimmage yards in the club's 25-3 victory – a day both he and the Colts needed.
"I needed this day. It's been a long time since I've been in the end zone," said Richardson. "It's been a long time since I've been a big part of the offense.
"People ask me, 'Do you still think you're part of the offense?' It shows you right there. You just have to be patient."
Richardson had five receptions at Cincinnati a week ago, some coming late in the stages of a 14-point loss when Indianapolis threw 46 times.
The Colts assumed a quick lead over Houston and played from the lead the whole way, something it had not done in a game since October.
It allowed the offense to select plays differently. The team went up-tempo at times and kept a healthy rush:pass mix. It did so in a number of alignments that accentuated Richardson's versatility and unselfish manner.
Indianapolis rushed for 47 first-quarter yards, and Richardson added an 18-yard reception.
In the second quarter, he helped give the club a 17-3 lead when he snared a shovel pass from Luck and turned it into a nine-yard touchdown reception.
"It's something we practiced a lot," said Luck. "Great job by Trent (Richardson) of creating that space. I don't know if I deserve a touchdown pass, it's more a touchdown run. Great job by Trent finding the end zone and the O-line making it work."
After four rushes and a reception in the third quarter, Richardson had 51 rushing yards in the final quarter as the Colts earned their second-largest victory margin of the season.
"(This) can't do anything but help his confidence," said Chuck Pagano. "Trent's been practicing extremely well also, trending in the right direction, feeling more comfortable with the offense.
"You're going to see him do nothing but take off from here. We saw it two weeks ago, last week and now with the positive things that happened to him. It's great for Trent and great for our offense and great for his confidence."
Richardson leads Colts backs with 23 receptions (223 yards) and has worked through the challenges and is doing what it takes to be a building block
"It (the performance) was real important," said Richardson. "I train and practice hard and make sure I do everything I can to be in that position for whenever they call on my number, I'm ready.
"We got in a good rhythm. We finished drives for the most part. We did good on third downs. Third-and-one, they put me in at fullback or whatever they want to do, I'm ready to go."
Indianapolis needs the continued contributions. If observers used the word, 'finally,' to describe yesterday, Richardson would say something else.
"More like, 'It's about time,' " said Richardson. "It's about time. It was due time for it.
"We're just going to keep going from here. We're going to keep capitalizing. We're going to take everything they give us. Whatever they give us, we're going to make sure we get first downs, get in the end zone, make the tackles. That (Houston) was a good team. We're a good team, too."