Rested Colts looking to run against Lions
The Indianapolis Colts hope that their bye week gave them enough time to fix their running game.
The Colts carried a 4-2 record into their off week despite averaging an NFL-low 3.6 yards per carry. They’re also in the bottom five in the league in rushing yards per game at 98.0.
A sound ground attack would boost their chances at Detroit on Sunday.
“No question, this is our identity. We are committed to the run,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “Now, we have not been committed to the run as much as we would’ve liked to. That’s who we want to be. We want to run the football.”
In their last game, Philip Rivers came to the rescue. The 38-year-old quarterback passed for 371 yards in a 31-27 win over Cincinnati. The Colts don’t want to put Rivers in that situation on a regular basis.
Rookie running back Jonathan Taylor is the key to the running game. Taylor has not rushed for more than 68 yards the past four games but perhaps he’s not getting enough carries. He’s averaging 13.5 carries during that stretch and has averaged at least 4.0 yards in each of those contests.
“He’s done everything that he needs to do,” Indianapolis running backs coach Tom Rathman said. “It’s just about getting experience. The more he gets, the better he’s going to be.”
The Colts are entering a tough portion of their schedule. Their November schedule also includes matchups against Baltimore, Green Bay and Tennessee (twice).
Detroit (3-3) has evened its record by capturing two road victories since its bye week. The Lions escaped with a 23-22 win over Atlanta on Sunday as quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with tight end T.J. Hockenson on a 11-yard scoring pass with the clock expiring.
The subsequent extra point finished off the comeback after the Falcons had taken the lead with 1:12 remaining. Falcons running back Todd Gurley wound up regretting scoring the go-ahead touchdown rather than falling shy of the goal line and running down the clock to set up a chip-shot field goal.
“Certainly it was a great game, and I’m proud of the team for the way they handled (Sunday), but that really won’t help us next week,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said. “The Colts are going to be ready to go. They’re coming off a bye week; they’re going to be rested.”
Stafford passed for a season-high 340 yards against the Falcons, the first time he’s reached the 300-yard mark this year. He also wasn’t picked off for the second time this year.
Turnovers — or lack thereof — have been a key element for Detroit. It became the first team in NFL history to not fumble in its first six games.
“Honestly, I just think the guys do a great job with fundamentals,” Patricia said. “I think it’s a big part of our teaching of fundamentals. From Day One, when we talk about those things, the No. 1 fundamental is ball security and obviously trying to turn the ball over when we get those opportunities.”
Stafford’s top target, wide receiver Kenny Golladay, appears to be rounding into form after recovering from a hamstring injury. Golladay has exceeded the 100-yard mark in the last two victories, including a season-best 114 yards on six catches at Atlanta.
Detroit’s biggest injury concern is cornerback Desmond Trufant, who is dealing with a hamstring issue. Colts tight end Mo Alie-Cox missed Wednesday’s practice due to a knee injury.
–Field Level Media