Yesterday, the Colts made some players and Bruce Arians available to speak with the media. Here are some of the highlights, with quotes and information courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts Public Relations Department.
Return of the Run Game
A big part of the Colts' come-from-behind overtime victory over the Titans Sunday was their rugged ground game. Indianapolis racked up 171 yards rushing, 80 from Donald Brown, another 55 from Vick Ballard, and a 4th down conversion and touchdown from Delone Carter.
Their recent running success has opened up more opportunities for the Andrew Luck and the offense while allowing the team to come out on the plus side in time of possession for the second consecutive week.
"It means so much to the offense," Luck said, when asked about the rushing attack. "It means so much to the defense sitting on the sidelines, a couple first downs, the clock’s running, you can get your rest. Talk about opening up play-action, opening up the movement stuff...the last screen touchdown probably had a lot to do with we were running the ball effectively. It’s helpful on so many levels."
Seeking Their Full Potential
At 4-3, the Colts arguably still have not put together two halves of the kind of quality football they want to play. For a young team, having a winning record when they haven't played their best football yet can serve as both a confidence builder and a motivator.
Anthony Castonzo was asked if he felt the team had played a complete game to this point. "I don’t think so," he said. "We just got done watching that Tennessee film. There’s definitely a lot of stuff that can be corrected. It’s crazy where we are at. We aren’t even close to our potential. I don’t think we’ve really put together that complete game yet and when we do, it’s going to be pretty scary."
A Brand New Play and a Highlight Reel Finish
As you may have heard, the play the Colts ran for the game-winning score in overtime was installed earlier the same week. Arians, who also kept his offense on the field convert a 4th down on their game-tying drive, was confident enough in his players to call the new play with the game on the line. A fake pitch left, roll right, throw to the left. Touchdown.
This type of aggressive play calling can send a powerful message of confidence to the players. "I think it’s great that B.A. (Bruce Arians) feels that he has the whole playbook at his disposal and trusts us to run it correctly," Luck said. "Plays go in on Tuesdays, Wednesdays all the time and it’s expected. It’s part of being a professional football player, that you are expected to run the plays and execute the plays well that are called. Glad it worked well."
When asked about Ballard's leap into the end zone at the end of the play, Luck said, "I knew he had it in him. He’s a great player. When I saw him jump, I said, ‘Oh my, that’s a far way out.’ But he made it there."
Vick Ballard also talked about the game winning touchdown. "After the throw, I saw I think the d-end in my peripheral so I knew once I caught the ball, I had to hurry up and get away from him," he said. "Once I got away from him, I saw that I had two blockers ahead and I don’t even remember how it was set up. I just knew I couldn’t go inside and my only escape was from the outside and I had to jump to get there so I did."
Ballard also didn't initially know for sure that he had gotten the ball across the plane "because the back of my head hit the pylon," he said. "I was looking at the sky. Like I said, the referee said ‘touchdown’ so I said ‘touchdown’ too."
Bruce Arians on injuries: "On the injury front, we’re still waiting for word on Coby Fleener’s shoulder and the MRI coming back on Vontae’s (Davis) knee. We’ll know more on Wednesday on both those guys. Those guys were the only new additions. Guys that we hope will come back this week, Fili (Moala) and Robert (Mathis), hopefully will practice Wednesday. We look forward to having them back out there. Darius Butler has a chance of making this ballgame so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that he’s able to go as the week progresses also."