Heading into Sunday’s game with the Texans, the staunch Houston rush defense ranked second in the NFL and had not let a 100-yard rusher in 25 straight games.
With a depleted offensive line and without a 100-yard back since December of last year, the Colts did not seem like the prime candidate to stop that streak.
Don’t tell that to Vick Ballard.
Behind an 18-carry, 105-yard performance, Ballard did end that streak and 14 games into this rookie season he seems to be getting better by the week.
“He’s been steady all year but I think he’s just getting stronger as the season’s gone on, more comfortable, more confident,” quarterback Andrew Luck said. “He’s a heck of a back. He does a great job of making guys miss in confined spaces.”
Early in the season, Ballard showed flashes of what he put together on Sunday. Injuries to the running back season during the win over the Titans has given Ballard more of a workload and he relishes those carries.
“I know me for sure, I get into a rhythm whenever I can get the ball and I start seeing cuts that you didn’t see earlier in the game,” Ballard said on Monday night’s ‘Pagano Show.’ “I get into a groove and am able to start making some plays.”
Ballard particularly found that groove during a third quarter touchdown drive when he had five carries for 60 yards in leading to tight end Dwayne Allen’s eight-yard touchdown reception.
In April’s NFL Draft, Ballard was chosen in the fifth round and even though his name wasn’t called until the final day the thought of him needing some time to become a feature back did not even register with interim head coach Bruce Arians.
“There’s never been any doubt in my mind. I’ve always thought that from when we brought (Ballard) in,” Arians said. ”I think everyone is starting to see it now that he’s a guy that can tote the ball the whole game.”
The 37 carries over the past two games is the most Ballard has received in back-to-back games this year.
He admitted that he is starting to feel the grind but credited the Colts training staff for keeping him productive in the month of December.
Ballard wants to continue that into January and a victory on Sunday would provide that opportunity.
“Our coaches talk about how we don’t want to sit back and wait for somebody else to lose to increase our chances to make it,” Ballard said. “We want to handle our business. We didn’t get it done this past week so this coming week we want to accomplish that.”
Tags: Andrew Luck, bruce arians, vick ballard
Posted in Colts Blog