The Indianapolis Colts were the center of attention in the NFL world in the week leading up to their week three contest with the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. The Trent Richardson trade between the Colts and the Browns was the subject of conversation, with many experts chiming in on just how this would impact the football landscape.
After one game, the results look promising for Indianapolis. The Colts ran all over the heavily favored 49ers in San Francisco in a 27-7 victory. The Colts improve to 2-1 on the season with the victory and are in a prime position to make a run for a division many thought would be controlled by the Houston Texans heading into the season.
Quarterback Andrew Luck out-dueled Colin Kaepernick in the passing game throughout this one. The second year passer was the better field general today, however neither young quarterback had the impact on this game that was expected going in. This was an old fashioned grind it out game.
Added balance on offense from acquiring Trent Richardson was a major reason for the Colts success. Andrew Luck may not have had a touchdown pass, yet the Colts were still able to cross the goal line 3 times. Running the football helps an offense, a fact that is too easy to forget given the heavy emphasis on the passing attack in today’s game.
Trent Richardson is someone who can keep a defense honest and make plays on the ground. It took the former Brown just 3:40 to show Colts fans what he can do. Richardson scored the first points of the game on a 1 yard touchdown run in the first quarter.
For the rest of the night, Richardson did not dominate, finishing with just 35 yards on 13 carries. With only a partial week of practice to take in a new playbook, it was not expected that Richardson would come in and thrive in the first week. His impact today showed that he has at least an okay grasp of the offense, otherwise he would not have played as many snaps as he did against San Francisco.
The star of the game was Ahmad Bradshaw, the other running back. Bradshaw was the starter in Indy before they brought in Richardson, and gave perhaps what was a curtain call effort. A long injury history concerned many teams in free agency, but he eventually wound up in Indy as a backup to Vick Ballard. A man who believes he can still start, if Bradshaw finishes the year healthy perhaps he showed enough today to earn a chance to start next year.
Bradshaw looks pretty good in his current role in Indy though. 19 carries for 95 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers defense is nothing short of impressive. A solid pass protector, there will be a role for the former Giant even with Richardson. Just don’t expect an even split, Richardson is the guy once he learns the offense.
Defensively, the Colts looked vastly improved from the lack luster performances they put on in the first two weeks against Oakland and Miami. Holding Kaepernick to 150 yards passing while snagging an interception, the secondary held him to a less productive outing than Terrell Pryor had against them. They only allowed 254 yards total on the day.
Watch out for Richardson and the Colts moving forward.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express