Posted September 25, 2013 on
AP on Fox
San Francisco 49ers
Perhaps viewed as a pass-first team last season, the Indianapolis Colts might be on their way to transitioning to a wholly different approach in 2013.
A power run game and dominant play up front lifted the Colts to an impressive victory last week, and that could prove to be a winning formula again Sunday against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
Indianapolis (2-1) acquired running back Trent Richardson from Cleveland earlier in the week and wasted no time employing a style that many observers thought it wasn't capable of playing. Facing a big and physical San Francisco team, the Colts outplayed the 49ers in the trenches and wore them down en route to a 27-7 road victory Sunday.
Richardson scored a touchdown on his first carry and finished with 35 yards on 13 attempts, while starter Ahmad Bradshaw led the way with a season-high 95 yards and a score on 19 rushes.
Indianapolis ran for 179 yards to top the 100-yard mark for the third straight week. It ranks fourth in the NFL with 146.3 rushing yards per game.
"I think that was a definite step in the right direction,'' left tackle Anthony Castonzo said. "A lot of that has to do with the fact that we just have backs that are fun to block for."
The effective ground attack has certainly made things easier on Andrew Luck, who went 18 of 27 for a career-low 164 yards Sunday but ran for a score for the second time in three weeks. Luck threw for 4,374 yards as a rookie last season, when Indianapolis averaged 104.4 yards on the ground, but he's passed for fewer than 200 yards in two of the first three games -both wins.
Indianapolis was equally impressive on the defensive side of the ball, sacking the mobile Colin Kaepernick three times, intercepting him once and keeping him off the scoreboard. The Colts limited San Francisco to 254 yards.
"It was as complete a game as I think we've played since we've been here,'' coach Chuck Pagano said.
Indianapolis needs one more victory for its best start since winning its first 14 games in 2009, and its powerful ground attack should give it a good chance to achieve that this week.
Jacksonville (0-3) gave up 156 rushing yards in a 45-17 loss at Seattle on Sunday and has the worst run defense in the NFL at 167.7 allowed yards per game. The defeat was the franchise-worst eighth overall for the Jaguars, who have allowed 29.1 points per game while dropping 15 of 16.
"It's a pretty clear picture,'' coach Gus Bradley said. "But I don't want to say that in regards to saying, 'OK, we're three years away (from contending).' That's not how we think. We're just trying to get these guys to play at their highest level."
Bradley's team ranks last in the league in total offense with 230.3 yards a contest, though the Jaguars are hoping to benefit from the return of quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
He'll start for the first time since slicing open the back of his throwing hand in a season-opening loss to Kansas City. Gabbert went 18 of 31 for 209 yards and an interception before leaving with a shoulder injury in a 27-10 home loss to the Colts on Nov. 8, the teams' last meeting.
Cecil Shorts, who had a touchdown catch in both matchups with the Colts last season, has been one of Jacksonville's few effective offensive weapons this year. He has 16 receptions for 236 yards with Chad Henne under center the past two contests.
"We are a very young team and we are still learning,'' Shorts said. "We still have a lot of stuff to improve on and we'll hit it hard this week.''
The Jaguars would like to get star running back Maurice Jones-Drew going, but he's averaging a career-low 2.6 yards per carry while battling an ankle injury.
Jones-Drew, though, has had success against the Colts, rushing for an average of 153.3 yards with two touchdowns in his last three meetings. He sat out last year's loss in Jacksonville due to a foot injury.
Indianapolis ranks 26th in the league against the run at 129.0 yards a game.
Luck wasn't at his best as the Colts and Jaguars split their two meetings last year, throwing for 540 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while posting a 55.6 completion percentage and 77.3 rating.
Indianapolis has several injury concerns, with defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois, linebacker Pat Angerer, safety LaRon Landry and center Samson Satele listed as day to day.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf) might be able to make his season debut for the Jaguars.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Cleveland Browns trading of No. 3 overall 2012 draft pick Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts sent shock waves throughout the NFL last week. After news of the trade spread, pundits and talking heads immediately went into analysis mode to give their takes on which of the teams involved got the better end of the deal. The most common opinion was that the trade was good...
Fans of the Cleveland Browns just can’t win.
One Browns fan had just gotten his tailgate RV all ready to go for the season by getting an image of the team’s logo, the Browns name and a photo of the Browns’ 2012 first-round pick, Trent Richardson, emblazoned on the outside. A few weeks later, Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts.
Twitter used @JoeDooder uploaded a...
The league is known as pass happy, but the truth is that you do need some sort of a running game to open it up for your passing offense. Just ask the Detroit Lions. They are a good example of this recently. The addition of Reggie Bush and the emergence of Joique Bell has really opened up their passing offense. The Colts are trying to do the same thing. Although the Colts ended up...
When the Cleveland Browns drafted Trent Richardson out of Alabama Jim Brown was not too happy with them. What is that youngster? Who is Jim Brown? He is just the greatest running back to ever live, a Hall of Famer, and a living legend.
So when a guy like Jim Brown speaks, people listen. When he heard of the trade he did not hesitate when asked what he...
The trade the Colts pulled off to land running back, Trent Richardson, is looking better by the day. Ahmad Bradshaw is out of this Sunday’s game with a neck injury, so that opened up the starting spot for Trent Richardson, according to NFL.com.
The extent of Bradshaw’s injury is unknown, so it looks like the RB job is Richardson’s for the time being.
Colts and Browns fans were left in shock last week after it was announced that the Colts had …
The Indianapolis Colts have wanted to wok Trent Richardson into lineup slowly by pairing him up with Ahmad Bradshaw. Unfortunately for them those plans have been scrapped as Bradshaw has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with a neck injury. With Ahmad out they’ve only got one running back left on the bench, Donald Brown. He’ll be obviously be the backup to Richardson.
Colts HC Chuck Pagano announced on Friday that RB Ahmad Bradshaw will not play in Week 4′s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Pagano added that he expects newly acquired RB Trent Richardson to carry load on Sunday, with Donald Brown giving him a breather every now and then.
Bradshaw is dealing with a neck injury and the Colts currently do not have a time frame for his return...
When the Browns opted to give up Trent Richardson to the Colts they managed to reel in an extra 1st round pick from the Colts. Lomas takes time out of his schedule to update his 2014 NFL Mock draft to reflect the recent blockbuster. Check out fully updated NFL Mock Draft
24. Browns via Indianapolis – Loucheiz Purifoy CB, Florida
The Browns find another strong CB from the Gators...
After dropping their Week 2 matchup against the Miami Dolphins in Indianapolis, it was understandable that there were those who were not yet convinced that the Colts could be a legitimate threat in 2013. As always, the first few weeks of the NFL regular season can often be very
Start Daryl Richardson vs SF. The 49ers have allowed 6 touchdowns to opposing RBs in the last 3 games. I know Richardson is coming off of a minor injury, but SF hasn't beaten the Rams since 2011; which was also the last time the Rams lost a division game at home. The Rams are going to play smart football and Jeff Fisher is going to lean heavily on his running specialist. He does...
By Jeff Heck, Bears Claws contributor Disclaimer: “He who gambles, lives in shambles.” Week three is over and the Old Man lost a little traction as he only went 10-6. I’m guessing I’m not alone. Seriously, who saw the Browns winning at Minnesota? The Colts over the 49ers? Trent Richardson being traded to the Colts? The Bengals win over the [...]
After the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts there was a school of thought that the Browns were basically tanking the 2013 season. Former Browns president Mike Holmgren said he would've quit his job if the Richardson trade had happened on his watch.
Holmgren quitting is probably something Browns special adviser Jim Brown would have loved to have...
After a great win against the Niners in Week 3 the Colts are making their way down to Jacksonville to take on a terrible Jaguars team. I mean terrible. These guys are averaging a league worst 9.3 points per game. Not good. That said, anything can happen. I’m hoping the Colts keep riding high and take it to the Jags with a good ole fashioned stompin’. The Jags run defense is bad...
Last week: 25 (+7)
I was shocked that not only did the Colts beat the 49ers, but they beat them handily in San Francisco. Previously in the Andrew Luck era, they were sweating out close wins against bad teams and getting blown out by good teams, especially on the road. Unless the 49ers are significantly worse than we expect them to be, the Colts just blew out a good team on the road...