Colts still committed to run game

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Colts have Andrew Luck, one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL, leading them in what should be a bright future for the organization.

But as this weekend's playoff games proved, the Colts need a running game to complement Luck's arm.

Running the football "will always be our mantra," coach Chuck Pagano said during his season-ending news conference Monday. "You have to be able to run the football and stop the run to win football games in the National Football League."

Pagano noted that the four teams playing in the AFC and NFC championship games all had success running the ball in the divisional games. Each team rushed at least 34 times, and New England ran for 234 yards against the Colts in its victory Saturday.

Indianapolis rushed for 69 yards against the Patriots. That's why the Colts are steadfast on becoming more of a running team next season.

"Will we ever change? No," Pagano said. "I don't think it's ever more prevalent. The deeper you go, the further you go in the playoffs, you have to be able to run the football and stop the run. I think statistics alone from this past week are enough to continue to make me be a believer. You're going to have to throw the football sometime, and we have one of the best [with Luck]."

The Colts thought they would have an established running game when they acquired Trent Richardson from Cleveland in September. But that never came about.

Donald Brown was Indianapolis' top rusher at 33.6 yards a game while Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, rushed for only 32.7 yards per game as the Colts finished 20th in the league in that category.

The lack of a running game put Luck in the position to carry the Colts even more. He led them to their second straight 11-win season, but not having a rushing attack caught up to Indianapolis in the playoffs.

The 24-year-old Luck threw seven interceptions, including four against the Patriots, in the two playoff games.

"Limiting turnovers, especially in playoff games," Luck said when asked what he needs to improves on. "That hurts us a lot; can't do that. At some point I'll go back and look at all the interceptions, all the fumbles, all the bad plays and figure out a way to fix it."