Sunday's Divisional Round game against the Broncos was easily the biggest game of the Andrew Luck Era for the Colts up to that point - and a player the Colts used a first round pick on not only wasn't starting but wasn't even active. Running back Trent Richardson, who the Colts acquired for a first round pick from the Browns last season, was a healthy scratch on Sunday.
"Just what we talked about as far as special teams go," head coach Chuck Pagano said when asked on Monday why Richardson was inactive. "Michael Hill was a special teams player, and Trent's, not to knock on Trent, Trent's never been asked to be a special teams player. You guys wrote about it, saw it out at practice, he was doing everything in a short period of time to try to get himself ready, but Michael was more ready to go out and be the third back and contribute on special teams."
Last week, Richardson was seen at practice working with the special teams units, and that really came as no surprise, as his role in the offense has been diminishing for a number of weeks now. Against the Bengals in the Wild Card round, Richardson played just one offensive snap. Against the Broncos in the Divisional Round, he wasn't even active.
Boom Herron has really established himself as the number one back for the Colts, and he's really impressed in that area. In the last two weeks, the Colts have run 148 offensive snaps and Herron has been in for 123 of them (83%), which is a very high number for a running back. Between both rushes and receptions, Boom has accounted for 53 total touches for 236 yards and two touchdowns in two playoff games, and he has been playing really well. Even Zurlon Tipton, the Colts' number two running back, has rushed 13 times for 54 yards and caught 2 passes for 18 yards in the playoffs. Those two had passed Richardson anyway on the depth chart, but then on Sunday Michael Hill - who was signed by the Colts last week - was active over Richardson. Hill didn't play any offensive snaps and was active for special teams reasons (he played 52% of the special teams snaps), but it's still not a good look for Richardson at all.
Ultimately, we didn't see much on Sunday that we didn't already know, as we had seen both Herron and Tipton pass Richardson on the depth chart already. But his being inactive is just a very noticeable action - one that continues to show us that the Colts are frustrated with Richardson and are continuing to decrease his role. While his contract (money) is fully guaranteed for next season, there's no guarantee that he'll be around with the Colts.