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
Posted in Colts Blog