INDIANAPOLIS -- The obvious question after Indianapolis Colts running back Ahmad Bradshaw bruised his way to 95 yards on 19 carries against the San Francisco 49ers was: How will the carries be divided up once Trent Richardson finds his rhythm?
Don’t worry, there's enough carries to go around for everybody. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton will make sure of that.
A lot of media members -- that includes me -- thought Hamilton was just being nice last week when he said nobody will get left out in the backfield. Turns out he was right. Bradshaw was on the field for 30 plays and Richardson got 28 plays against San Francisco. Those two helped the Colts rush for 179 yards in their win.
Richardson will likely end up with more carries than Bradshaw but it won't be by an overwhelming number.
What Bradshaw has proved so far in his short stint with the Colts is that he’s still effective. That’s good news for the Colts because they plan to pound the ball down their opponent’s throat on the ground as much as possible. They'll need multiple backs in order to do that the entire season. What also can’t be forgotten is that an established running game reduces the number of times quarterback Andrew Luck gets hit.
“You know what? That’s how he’s played ever since he’s been in the league, to be honest with you,” coach Chuck Pagano said about Bradshaw. “He runs angry, as we always talk about. He’s got a chip on his shoulder and he’s running that way. He prepares extremely hard. He just wants to win. He knows if he runs that way, he’s going to give our team the best opportunity to win. That’s just how he’s wired and that’s just in his DNA. He doesn’t know any different.”
The addition of Richardson helps a rushing attack that was already effective in its first two games prior to his arrival. The Colts are fourth in the league in rushing at 146.3 yards a game.
Bradshaw’s not in foreign territory when it comes to having to share the load in the backfield. He did it with Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and David Wilson at different times during his six seasons with the New York Giants.
“When you’re able to run the ball like that, it does frustrate a defense,” left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. “I know it helps me out, especially on the edges. It frustrates defensive ends that they can’t just rush the passer all day. It kind of keeps us as the attacker and the fact that we’re able to be multi-dimensional and I imagine that was frustrating for the defense.”