In Indy's predictable loss to Houston, a very bright spot lay in their rookie running-back, Vick Ballard (who would have guessed that?). Craig Kelley writes a brief summary of his efforts on colts.com:
“He ran extremely well,” said Arians to Colts Radio. “I thought we had a plan coming in where he would have a good day. He made guys miss, and that’s the type of player he is. He’s just going to get better and better."
Ballard now has set personal highs in consecutive games. A week ago against Tennessee, he rushed 19 times for 94 yards, including 12-for-77 in the second half when the Colts staged their sixth comeback victory.
Here's my issue: Mewelde Moore. I didn't like him at the start of the season – they always tried to put him in near the redzone, and through six games at the start of the season, he had a grand total of 14 yards in 9 carries – and with Brown and Carter out, the Colts went out and picked him up again. Why? What did he ever to to deserve a second chance? In Houston, he did exactly what we would expect: 4 carries for 6 yards. I feel like Jim Caldwell's whispering in my ear "Yeah, but we're used to him, so it'll work eventually."
Moore fumbled on the one yard line in a crucial situation. Why aren't they running Ballard on goal line plays? It's like "Well, we took a look at fantasy stats and that, and wow touchdowns are worth a lot, so we'll try to get everyone a few points." On 2nd and 2, if Ballard is in and they score, the game would be at 10-7; with Vinatieri's next field goal, tie game.
Ballard attempted 18 carries for 105 yards, an average of 5.8 yards a carry. Foster ran 27 times for 165 yards, or 6.1 yards a play … and is a top-5 runningback in the NFL. The only thing holding Ballard back at this point is how reluctant the team is to use him. My favorite situation, though:
In the first drive of the second half, the Colts have shined. Their wins against Tennessee and Detroit came after huge starts to the second half; both times, because Vick Ballard had a couple huge runs. This time, down by 10? Incomplete, short pass, incomplete, punt. I'm starting to wonder whether other teams analyze the Colts more than the Colts analyze themselves. I was sitting with my brother right before the Moore fumble, and guessed a run up the middle that would lose them a yard.
Instead, it gained a yard and cost them seven points.
Listen, if I can predict run and pass plays (take a look at the Colts Authority Picks for a taste of my fortunetelling skills), the other team will certainly be able to. Bruce Arians, you've been doing a good job. Don't become another Jim Caldwell.