Trent Richardson is Colts X-Factor vs. Broncos


Sep 29, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Trent Richardson (34) prepares for the start of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis, IN – The Indianapolis Colts are facing the best rushing defense in the NFL on Sunday night against the Denver Broncos. While the main attention will be on the quarterback match-up between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck, this game may be won or lost on the ground for the Indianapolis Colts. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton loves to pound the football on the ground, and Trent Richardson has become the workhorse back in Indianapolis.

Indianapolis obviously won’t be able to give Richardson 20+ carries, but they will hand the football off to him around 15 times during the game. They will be asking him to pick up tough yards in short-yardage situations, and those situations may be the biggest plays on the evening. Andrew Luck will not be able to power the offense by himself, but with the help of Richardson picking up big first downs on the ground and forcing Denver to respect the run, it will make his job much easier.

Richardson has struggled throughout the first six weeks of the 2013 NFL season, but he did show some signs of improvement in the Colts’ Monday Night Football loss to the Chargers. He showed a good burst off the line of scrimmage, and he was much more physical that he had been in his previous games. Richardson also showed that he can make an impact as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and he may be asked to just do that against Denver as well.

While the Colts will more than likely have a pass heavy offensive gameplan against the NFL’s worst pass defense, Richardson will be asked to chip in yardage as well. If the Colts are not able to produce any rushing yards, they are going to be in a world of hurt. On the flip side of things, if they do get a good performance from Richardson and Donald Brown, they will have a better chance to knock off an incredibly strong Denver Broncos team. A lot rests on the shoulders of Trent Richardson this week.

Evan Massey is an Editor at Naptown’s Finest. Follow Evan and Naptown’s Finest on Twitter.