Since I'm all but positive someone will reply to this post without reading the entire thing, I will claim this disclaimer now: I don't LITERALLY mean it is designed to fail, that would be stupid. So there. For those who will skip the post and go on to the comments(It really is fine by me) there you have it. Go on.
After the jump, I'll describe what I'm talking about.
I'm sitting here watching the game. It is clear to see the Colts are firing on all cylinders. Manning is on, our receivers are on, and our offensive line, when passing, is on. not to mention our defense, is insanely on, it's so on it fell off. Freeney is playing like a man possessed, and the DB's, outside of the one big play Lacey allowed, have been spot on aswell. Great pressure, fantastic coverage, and a solid offense. It is no wonder that we are doing as well as we are
The problem lies, with our running game. This is a post i have thought about writing for a year or so now. Watching the Texans game, and now this game I cannot resist to write it. So, here goes.
I sometimes feel this offense is designed so that the run fails. It seems as if they only hand it off when the defense is expecting it. When they go into nickel or dime, Peyton throws through it, first down. It's great. However, I'm curious as to why we don't run then, but choose to run on a 1st and 10 when the defense is in a 4-3, with a safety lingering around close to the linebackers. It seems almost prototypical that the Colts run the ball on 1st and 10. This is why I feel it is almost designed to fail.
Our per carry average, while already bad, is even worse if you consider almost every game, Addai or Brown break a 20+ yard run off of terrible coverage. I know it's dumb to say "Take away this 1 play and they do bad" or else Chris Johnson would have gotten like 3 yards a carry last year. But, for hypothetical purposes, take away that 1 bad play on the defenses part, the play where they focus so much on Peyton that our back gets an untouched 20 yards, and our per carry average falls to close to 3 yards a carry. It's bad. Why though? With our O line being solid, and defenses focusing on Peyton, we should be running well.
The problem is that we run the ball in the same situations. When we "Mix it up" it is always passing when they feel a run is coming. We almost never run when they seek a pass. There's the old standby "Well we don't want the ball out of the hands of the best player on the field" but that's just it. We need the ball out of his hands on occasion.
Moreover, when we do run the ball, it seems like Addai hesitates sometimes. He seems to handle dives as if they were draws. He gets the ball, and takes a hesitating hop or bounce. Watch him. I am not making this up. He takes 2 stutter steps, that turn a hole with a 7 yard gain into a wall where he gets 2 yards.This is where I say it's designed to fail: It almost seems like we run the ball just to set up a throw for Peyton 1 or 2 yards closer. On 2nd and 10, we run so we can set up a 3rd and 6 or 7. This is good. A run on a 2nd and 10 is often a guaranteed 4 yards. That's just it though, it will guarantee 3 or 4 to make 3rd down easier, but it will never (Not NEVER, but 1 in maybe 50 times) get you a 15 yard run and a first, or break a 20 yard run. That makes it seem like it is designed to fail. Our running game is there only to compliment our Pass. This is good on the sense that we need compliments to the Pass because Passing means Peyton has the ball. The Bad? Once teams realize that we don't intent or even TRY for that matter to beat them with the running game, they adjust and beat us : See the 2010 Superbowl, or any playoff exit.
Why did i post this? I don't want the offense to be so predictable. I took a tally of myself tonight, and I correctly predicted whether they were running or passing on 49/56 plays. This is not because I am a genius or know a lot about sports. I will tell you right now my knowledge in football is mediocre. This is just the Colts being incredibly predictable. If i can guess correctly this often, imagine what an NFL scouting report can do! The point is, it seems like the defense knows when were running, and they shut us down.
Also, to add more to the fire, I am tired of what the Colts do to Addai, which seems to be using him as a workhorse. Addai seems to get the crap carries. The 3rd and 17 dives where he knows he's going to get pounded. Addai pass blocks for a whole drive, also runs it down the middle and gets pounded, then Brown gets the money yards, or catches easy passes and scores. Yes, I'm biased because Addai is on my fantasy team, and yes, i realize the NFL is not a fail league, and players might not care who scores, but at some point you need to realize how much Addai does for us. It is clear to see that sometimes, (ONLY because we are just THAT talented) Manning forces the ball to a certain receiver, almost trying to get him a score. Why do we do the opposite for Addai?
In conclusion, just run the ball in less predictable situations. We need to do more then just run it to get Peyton situated. We need to try to move the ball by running. Actually make it a factor of our offense, not just a factor of our passing game.
One final thing, is that realize this: This is coming from a fan who loves Peyton. I used to get so angry when we ran. I felt every situation is better to pass on. So to type this I have come a long way, and also it is a sign that this has gone on too far. We will keep winning a lot of games, and kill teams like we kill the Giants. On occasions where we blow teams out our Run may look good for half the regular season, but it is an illusion. Come playoff time, when we need to grind out yards, it doesn't come through, and neither do we.