How They Did It: Rushing Touchdowns

In continuing our review of the 2011 season, we turn to the offense. In this installment, we’ll be taking a look at the rushing touchdowns, eight in total, which broke down as the following: 

Donald Brown: 5

Delone Carter: 2

Joseph Addai: 1

We’ll go in reverse order, starting with Joseph Addai’s lone touchdown on the season, the lowest of his career. 

Week 3, 4th Quarter (2:15) J.Addai left tackle for 6 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Assistant challenged the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was Upheld.

Really, this play is one of the luckiest scores on the season. The Steelers load the left side, which is without a tight end, yet Painter does not change the play, but snaps the ball and goes with the run to the outside of the left tackle. Troy Polamalu jumps the snap, and is in the backfield before the ball is handed off. Fortunately, he gambles and goes for the quarterback, and Painter is able to get the ball to Addai before falling to the ground. Anthony Castonzo and Joe Reitz are responsible for setting the edge, and Austin Collie has to block out the cornerback to give Addai a hole. None of them have very good blocks, but they hold their men just long enough for Addai to squeeze through. 

Delone Carter

Week 5, 2nd Quarter (1:15) D.Carter up the middle for 3 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Assistant challenged the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was Upheld.

After a 23 yard pass to Austin Collie, the Colts were set up with a 1st and Goal from the two-yard line. On first down, there was some miscommunication between Joe Reitz and Jeff Linkenbach on the left side (Link was playing for Castonzo at LT), and Carter tried to leap over a non-existent wall, getting stoned by the untouched Kansas City linemen, losing a yard.

On second down Painter audibled out of shotgun to a singleback look, and Delone Carter just ran right behind Jeff Saturday for the touchdown. Mike Pollak had a good block on the linebacker to push him to the outside, and Saturday drove the defensive tackle back to the goalline. It was the first good sign of Carter’s power, as he just inched forward through the last half yard through three Chief defenders. 

Week 7, 2nd Quarter (2:00) D.Carter right tackle for 2 yards, TOUCHDOWN

On 2nd and 2 from the 11-yard line, Donald Brown ran eight yards up the middle for a first down, and set up a 1st and goal from the 3. On first down, Brown got the ball again, but only gained one yard as Quinn Ojinnaka’s assignment knifed through the line and caused Brown to alter his direction, right to where the two cornerbacks, missed by Collie and Wayne, were waiting to corral Brown. 

On 2nd and Goal from the 2-yard line, the Colts ran it again, but to the right this time. Brody Eldridge sealed off the edge perfectly, allowing Clark to freely attack the linebacker. Clark easily turned Jonathan Vilma to the inside, and Pierre Garcon pinned Roman Harper to the ground to the outside, leaving Carter with a truck-sized hole to prance in for the touchdown. 

Donald Brown

Week 6, 2nd Quarter (11:22) D.Brown right guard for 18 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

With Joseph Addai injured, Brown saw his the ball for the second game in a row. On 1st and 10 on the CIN 27, Brown ran up the middle for nine yards, as the right guard (Pollak) pulled to set the hole between the left tackle and left guard , setting up a 2nd and 1. 

This time, the run was behind the right guard again, but he didn’t pull, just a straight blast between the guard and tackle. But the middle linebacker was waiting in the hole, and the safety had cheated up as well, so Brown bounced it outside with lateral quickness often missing in previous years. Using his speed to beat the corner to the outside, Brown was too fast to be caught from any defenders coming across the field on an 18 yard run. 

Week 8, 4th Quarter (13:39) (No Huddle, Shotgun) D.Brown up the middle for 4 yards, TOUCHDOWN. The Replay Assistant challenged the runner broke the plane ruling, and the play was Upheld.

On 1st and 10 from the TEN 25, Painter hit Dallas Clark down the seam for 18 yards, leaving the Colts with a 1st and Goal from the seven yard line. On first down, Brown ran for two yards as the Colts tried to run the stretch to the outside. Garcon went to block the safety, and Brown couldn’t get past the corner. On 2nd and goal, Painter tried a screen pass to Brown, who was hit immediately by the defensive linemen (gaining a yard as he fell forward), who was sloppily blocked by Seth Olsen. 

So, on 3rd and goal from the 4-yard line, the Colts lined up in shotgun. The Colts called a draw, and Brown committed to the hole right away, where Jeff Linkenbach and Jamey Richard (two unlikely suspects for great run blocking) came up with great blocks. Linkenbach turned the end to the outside, and Richard got a fantastic push for Brown to run right behind, churning his legs to the end. 

Week 12, 2nd Quarter (12:15) (Run formation) D.Brown right tackle for 17 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

I covered this play earlier this summer, when we looked at some of the different functions of a fullback.  If you want a detailed, pictoral view of the play, refer to that post. 

Basically, the play (set up by a 42 yard pass interference) broke down into the following: Everyone got a great block against the Carolina defenders, from the RG on the inside of the hole, to the RT on the middle linebacker, from the tight end on DE, to the fullback on the outside linebacker, the whole play worked perfectly. Brown just had to hit the hole hard and use his speed to outrun the defensive backs to the endzone. 

Week 13, 4th Quarter (10:29) D.Brown right end for 5 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

On 3rd and 3 from the New England 8-yard line, Brown sidestepped the penetrating linebacker and churned forward for three yards and a first down, setting the Colts up for a 1st and goal from the 5-yard line. Despite pulling eight people in to block, a linebacker and corner penetrated the line to greet Brown two yards deep in the backfield. Brown again showed great lateral quickness, turning outside. After a great stiff arm on the cornerback, leaving him flopping on the ground, Brown outraced the rest of the defense to the pylon. 

Week 15, 4th Quarter (3:43) (Run formation) D.Brown right tackle for 80 yards, TOUCHDOWN.

This run was one of the highlights of the season for everybody, as Brown’s electrifying run sealed the season’s first win over the Titans. I broke down the downfield blocking on the play back in December for Coltsider, which you may want to take a look at as well. 

After a rookie Jake Locker led the Titans on a touchdown drive, the Colts received the ball with under four minutes to go ahead by one touchdown. Starting on their own 20, they needed to at least chew up some clock, but got much more than that. The play broke down into two things: first, a fantastic effort, and speed, by Donald Brown, who was hit in the backfield but reversed the field to get the score. Second, Dan Orlovsky and Reggie Wayne getting in the way of a couple defenders just enough to allow Brown to speed by them and around the corner. 

It was a fantastic play, albeit an improbable one, and a fitting one to end on. 

Kyle J. Rodriguez

About Kyle J. Rodriguez

A film and numbers guru, Kyle writes about the NFL and the Indianapolis Colts for Bleacher Report, Draft Mecca and The Football Educator, and is a co-founder and associate editor of Colts Authority. Kyle also is a high school sports reporter for the MLive Media Group in Michigan, covering high school sports across the state.