Ahem. It's been a problem for a while, yes. This time, Coach Pagano and Coby Fleener weigh in on why Indy's run game, and Trent Richardson, are faltering as the season progresses.
"Our inability to run the football of late, it hurts your football team," Pagano said this week, per The Tribune-Star. "Time of possession, your three-and-out field position, the defense is having to play more, it affects so many different things. Our ability to run the football and stop the run is paramount and we got to get back to doing that."
Granted: Indy hasn't looked great since the bye. Their offensive line has crumbled against two very good defenses, and their run game – after getting stuffed early – hasn't been used past the first half, for good reason. Never mind that their best rusher this season, Donald Brown, is being used less and less every week. He's only averaging, you know, 5.9 yards a carry.
Oh, and in the passing game? Brown's been targeted 17 times, for 14 catches and 139 yards. That works out to 8.18 yards per target. Other Colts:
Hilton: 9 yards/target (y/t)
Wayne: 8.7 y/t
Fleener: 6.9 y/t
DHB: 5 y/t
Of those guys, guess who comes closest to Brown's 82.4% completion rate? Reggie Wayne, at 65.5%. Others include 55.4% (Hilton), 60.4% (Fleener), and 47.8 (DHB). Brown is simply reliable this season, and yet, Indy – so close to cutting him on the offseason – seems bent on keeping him off the field.
Until they start using Brown a little more, Indy's run game won't succeed. Even then, it'll be a stretch … but at this point, they should start exercising that option.