Trent Richardson's NFL career hasn't gone nearly as well as many had expected, so it's sadly fitting that his first NFL playoff game was a disappointment as well. Richardson got one carry in the Indianapolis Colts' 45-44 comeback win over the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday, and he fumbled it away, leading to a touchdown for the Chiefs. Though he stayed in on some passing downs in the second half, the rest of the carries went to Donald Brown. Does that mean that the Colts will shy away from Richardson for the rest of the playoffs?
Not according to Indianapolis offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, who told the Indy Star's Stephen Holder that not only was Richardson not being punished for his fumble by not getting any more carries, but that he was a big reason that the Colts were able to come back:
"The game itself, after the fumble, really dictated that we went into more of an attack mode," Hamilton said. "Trent actually did a great job of playing without the ball. His ability to take on those linebackers and handle all the different blitzes that we started to see, especially late in that game, was a big part of our success. No, I haven't lost any confidence in Trent at all. As a matter of fact, we're counting on Trent and Donald and even Tashard (Choice) because we only have a few backs to be ready to go out and play."
The Colts now head to New England to take on the Patriots in the divisional round, this Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET, and they may need an aggressive running attack to win and advance to the conference title game. The Patriots defense was 10th in points allowed, but were much stronger against the pass than they were against the run; New England was 30th in rushing yards allowed and 24th in yards per carry allowed.
And while Andrew Luck gets all of the attention, Indianapolis was 20th in rushing yards this season but 13th in yards per carry. Though Richardson struggled after coming to the Colts in a trade with the Cleveland Browns early in the season, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry for Indianapolis, his arrival seemed to coincide with the advancement of Brown.
A former first-round disappointment himself, Brown averaged 5.3 yards per carry during the season and had 11 carries for 55 yards and a touchdown against the Chiefs last Saturday. The Colts are 6-0 this season, including playoffs, when Brown gets at least 10 carries.
It seems like a good bet that Brown will once again get lead-back duties and probably double-digit carries against the Patriots this Saturday, but you may also see a few of those go to Richardson. Just as long as he doesn't "drop the ball" again.