Bruce Arians called it the ‘Fosbury Flop.’
Whatever phrase one wants to use in describing Vick Ballad’s game winning leap back on Oct. 28 against the Titans, there is no denying that a play like that has helped spear head the Colts flurry of victories over the seven weeks.
In search of the Colts first road win of the 2012 regular season, it was Ballard’s effort that carried out the message from Arians that week of ‘needing guys to do a little extra’ in order to win away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
Ballard was reminded of his highlight on Wednesday afternoon but chose to downplay any notion of how it will affect this weekend’s game.
“That last play was last time,” the rookie running back said. “It’s a whole new game and anything can happen. Obviously, we want to win but we can’t reminisce about the last game. You’ve got to put it behind you.”
The 19-yard throw back screen pass that Ballard took into the end zone during the Colts 19-13 overtime victory over the Titans came after the nine-play, 80-yard drive occurred via a strong ground attack.
Looking back at the first game, the Colts had a season-high 171 rushing yards on 34 carries and that is something that does intrigue Ballard heading into Sunday.
“We ran the ball pretty well. Some of our base run plays we were very effective with them,” Ballard said of the team’s first meeting. “I think we are going to try and stick with that game plan and hopefully we can have the same result.”
With eight different first-year players on the Colts offense, it’s been difficult to pin point why the Colts have been so successful in one-possession games like the Titans contest. But, even Ballard tried to offer up some reasoning.
“B.A. (Bruce Arians) said last week that once you get to the pro level, you are not expected to quit and I guess we just take that to a whole other level,” Ballard said. “That’s part of our job. We take it with pride. We want to win games too. All that into one just gives us that extra boost in the end.”
With Donnie Avery adding to the heart stopping plays against Detroit, at the end of the season it could be the ‘flop’ of Ballard in Nashville that is the reason the Colts find themselves in the postseason.
“I know getting that first road win was one of the main goals that we wanted to do because before then it had been maybe two years before we had gotten one,” Ballard said of the win over the Titans.
“It was pretty big for us. Obviously we were able to win two more (road games) after that. If it propelled us, I don’t know, but I’ll take it.”
Tags: bruce arians, vick ballard
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In searching for their first road win of 2012, the Indianapolis Colts headed down to Nashville on Oct. 28 knowing a balanced offense would be critical in wining away from Lucas Oil Stadium.
The Colts were coming off their finest rushing performance of the season the previous week when they ran for 148 yards on 37 carries in a 17-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns.
That type of rushing effort carried over the next week against the Titans and the Colts have seen a steady improvement in their rushing attack since the beginning of the season.
Two areas that have led to a more balanced offense is the Colts finding continuity on an offense line that is paving the way for rookie running back Vick Ballard.
After battling injuries along the offensive line for the early part of the season, the Colts have been relatively healthy up front with the expected starting five coming out of training camp in the lineup for three of the past four games.
“I think the biggest thing is our offensive line, tight end unit and our receivers are blocking well. They’ve picked it up a little bit,” interim head coach Bruce Arians said.
“One of the things that we do is keep it simple. We run the same things over and over, make it look different but we don’t change a lot of what we do in the running game. We try to tailor it to who’s running the football and what five guys are playing that week up front.”
Back on Oct. 28, the Colts won the overtime toss after erasing a fourth quarter deficit with Delone Carter scoring on a one-yard touchdown run with 3:24 remaining.
Against the Vikings and Packers, game-winning drives came predominantly via the Indianapolis passing attack but on this Sunday afternoon it would come in the trenches.
Running back Donald Brown began the drive with six straight rushes for 39 yards.
The drive will be remembered, and rightfully so, for the tremendous effort shown by Vick Ballard on the 19-yard screen pass for the game winning score, but without the early commitment to the rushing attack who knows if Ballard would have had such an opportunity.
Ballard has continued to find himself in the starting lineup and after rushing for just 67 yards through the first five games of the season, has erupted for 401 yards on 98 carries in the last seven contests.
It was once again Ballard on Sunday alluding a pair of would be tacklers on the first drive of the second half to record his first career rushing touchdown with an 11-yard score early in the third quarter.
Following a first half in which the Colts strayed away from the ground attack, they quadrupled their production in the second half and finished the game averaging 4.8 yards per carry.
“The running game perked up,” Arians said. “The coaches did a good job of nailing down some runs and we knew we wanted to go no huddle (on the Ballard touchdown drive).
“Vick probably had his best game and I was really proud of him. He had an excellent ball game and had a great run down there to make two guys miss. He’s capable of that.”
Tags: bruce arians, donald brown, vick ballard
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By Rob Zammit
It’s Monday morning, 12:25am Sydney time, the emergency phone calls me to work; a dog with severe, acute neck pain. Long history but some pain killers, intravenous fluids and a tranquilizer later, the dog is comfortable. In bed around 2 am to catch some sleep. Alarm at 5am, could use more sleep but gotta’ support the boys – the game is about to commence. With such little sleep, the first half is a bit of a blur, which is just as well as our performance is a bit bodgy (that’s Australian for lack of quality!). It’s time to help the boys get their head in the game. Put the billy on for a cuppa (boil the kettle to make tea) and get some veggie on toast (vegemite is a rare Australian delicacy, unappreciated by the rest of the world as they don’t know how to prepare it!).
Second half we make some ground on the Lions but there’s one player hurting us and that’s Calvin Johnson. We scream out to the defense from downunder to make megatron a neutron; somehow they listen and hold the Lions back. Now it’s Time for Andrew to take the field. He’s been threatened with a dose of Vegemite on toast so he puts in the performance we all know he can do, and yes, Mr. Andrew gets our vote for MVP and Rookie of the Year! We are in the 2 minute warning now and my friend Dan Plumlee sends a text from the game, saying, “we can do it!”. I text back, “We have done it!! We are COLTSTRONG”. A few plays later and our prophecy is fulfilled during the dying second of the game, with a great move from Andrew Luck hooking up with Donnie Avery for that magical, winning touchdown. Thank you ball boys, thank you linesmen, game over, shut the door, too late the COLTS HAVE BOLTED! Thank God, I’m on a high, because unlike you, I now have a full day’s work ahead of me. No worries, mate, I’m on a colthigh; the second half was a bottler (something excellent, in Australian slang) and we are in cooee of a playoff berth. And something we even now down here: anything can happen in the playoffs, because playoff football is different football.
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With four games remaining in the 2012 regular season, here is a look at the current AFC Playoff Picture:
1. Houston (11-1)
- 9-0 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (@New England, Indianapolis, Minnesota, @Indianapolis)
2. New England (9-3)
- 8-1 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (Houston, San Francisco, @Jacksonville, Miami)
3. Baltimore (9-3)
- 8-2 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (@Washington, Denver, N.Y. Giants, @Cincinnati)
4. Denver Broncos (9-3)
- 6-2 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (@Oakland, @Baltimore, Cleveland, Kansas City)
Wild Card Standings
5. Indianapolis Colts (8-4)
- 5-3 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (Tennessee, @Houston, @Kansas City, Houston)
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-5)
- 4-5 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (San Diego, @Dallas, Cincinnati, Cleveland)
7. Cincinnati Bengals (7-5)
- 5-5 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (Dallas, @Philadelphia, @Pittsburgh, Baltimore)
8. New York Jets (5-7)
- 3-5 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (@Jacksonville, @Tennessee, San Diego, @Buffalo)
9. Buffalo Bills (5-7)
- 4-6 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (St. Louis, Seattle, @Miami, N.Y. Jets)
10. Miami Dolphins (5-7)
- 3-6 against the AFC
- Remaining Schedule: (@San Francisco, Jacksonville, Buffalo, @New England)
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