After Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the focus from Colts fans and media alike was understandably and rightly on the defense. And while we don't want to take anything away from the defense, I think we need to realize something else: the Colts racked up 506 yards of total offense on Sunday, and in particular the running game was impressive - led by some guy named Trent Richardson.
On Sunday, Richardson rushed for 77 yards on 14 carries, averaging 5.5 yards per rush. He also caught 4 passes for 41 yards, an average of 10.3 yards per reception. Even more, he put up those numbers despite leaving the game early with a hamstring injury. It was the best that Richardson has looked in his 21 games in a Colts uniform. In fact, his 77 rushing yards were the second most he has recorded in a single game as a member of the Colt, behind only the week two loss to the Eagles this year (79 yards). His 41 yards receiving were the third most he has notched in a single game with the Colts, behind just the game against the Bengals last year (68 yards receiving) and the Titans game this year (52 yards receiving). His average of 5.5 yards per rush this Sunday was easily the highest in a game since coming to Indianapolis, and in fact in only three other games with the Colts had he even reached 4 yards per carry (with the highest in a game previously being 4.1). The 5.5 average was also the third highest total he has recorded in a game in the NFL period, spanning 38 games. In terms of total yardage gained, Richardson also set a new personal best with the Colts, totaling 118 yards. Only one time previously with the Colts had he reached 100 total yards, as he notched 102 yards in a game last year against the Texans.
|Trent Richardson's Best Games as a Colt by Category (21 games)|
|Rushing Yards||Rushing Average||Receiving Yards||Total Yards|
|2014 PHI (79)||2014 CIN (5.5)||2013 CIN (68)||2014 CIN (118)|
|2014 CIN (77)||2014 JAX (4.1)||2014 TEN (52)||2013 HOU (102)|
|2013 HOU (64)||2014 BAL (4.1)||2014 CIN (41)||2014 TEN (99)|
|2013 JAX (60)||2013 SD (4.0)||2013 HOU (38)||2014 PHI (95)|
|2014 JAX (57)||2013 TEN (3.8)||2013 HOU (33)||2013 CIN (88)|
|2013 SEA (56)||2014 PHI (3.8)||2013 STL (33)||2014 JAX (80)|
One interesting side note is that in four games against the Bengals in his career, Richardson has rushed for 243 yards and a score and added 162 yards and a score receiving, totaling 405 yards and two touchdowns in four games against the Bengals. In other words, against Cincinnati in his career Richardson is averaging 4.58 yards per carry while against everyone else he has averaged 3.24 yards per carry. Against Cincinnati, Richardson has averaged 10.1 yards per reception while against everyone else he has averaged 7.71 yards per reception. Against the Bengals, Richardson has averaged 5.96 yards per touch while against everyone else he has averaged 3.92 yards per touch. Granted, the sample sizes are different (Richardson has played in just four career games against the Bengals while in 34 against everyone else), but it's an interesting note.
Anyway, on the season, Richardson has had a solid but not spectacular 358 yards rushing in seven games, averaging 3.5 yards per carry, and scoring two touchdowns, while adding 173 yards receiving. He is currently 16th in the league in rushing yards and 10th among running backs in receiving yards. He's clearly having a much better season than a year ago, when he averaged just 2.9 yards per carry with the Colts - though that's not saying much. Richardson just looks better running, is making defenders miss, is hitting some holes, is fighting for yards, and is just doing some of the things that we thought he should have last year. If you don't look at what the Colts gave up to get him (because they're still "losers" on the trade at this point) and look instead at just this year compared to last year, there's a lot to be encouraged by.
Additionally, the running back duo of Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw is helping the Colts out a lot. They combined for 129 yards rushing (the third highest total the duo has had) and 206 total yards on Sunday (the highest total the duo has had). Through seven games this year, Richardson and Bradshaw have combined to rush for 694 yards and 3 touchdowns while averaging 4.06 yards per carry and have caught 43 passes for 385 yards and 6 touchdowns. Total, the two-back tandem for the Colts has produced 1,079 yards and 9 touchdowns through seven games, averaging just over 5 yards per touch. In a league that has gone to a two-back system often, the Colts have one of the best there is, and that's nice to say. Granted, Andrew Luck's passing attack is what is powering the offense and what is helping the run game get going (they're passing to set up the run now, and it's working), but we also don't want to take anything away from Richardson and Bradshaw. Those two are playing good football this year, and that's an added bonus to a Colts' offense that is number one in the NFL.
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