Running the Ball: Who Has the Edge?
Indianapolis Colts Rushing Offense
Indianapolis was hit and miss with the ground game this season as injuries took a toll, as did some big deficits early in the season. The Colts ran for more than 100 yards just once in their first five games, with the high water mark being 104 yards against the Redskins in week 2. Over the final 11 games of the season, Indianapolis broke the century mark seven times, including two games where they ran for at least 220 yards. In the final month of the regular season, the Colts averaged 108.8 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry on the ground while finding paydirt six times. In the win over Houston in the wild card round, they racked up 200 yards and a 5.7 yard per carry average.
Marlon Mack leads the team with 195 carries for 908 yards plus nine scores. Jordan Wilkins (60 carries, 336 yards, TD) and Nyheim Hines (85 carries, 314 yards, two TD) are next in line. Andrew Luck contributes 148 yards on the ground from the quarterback position. Mack ran for a franchise playoff record 148 yards against the Texans in the wild card round. The Colts finished the season with nine runs of at least 20 yards this season: Mack had seven of them. Indianapolis moved the chains 96 times on the ground this season.
Kansas City Chiefs Rushing Defense
Kansas City has struggled in all facets of defense this season, which makes it all the more important that their offense carries the day. The Chiefs have had problems stopping the run, allowing at least 100 yards in 12 of their 16 games this season. Kansas City has held just two opponents under 70 yards on the ground this season, with that coming in week 2 against the Steelers, when they allowed a season-low 37 yards, and in a week 6 demolition of the Bengals, when they allowed 65. Kansas City allowed at least 170 yards on the ground six times this season. Over the final quarter of the season, the Chiefs allowed an average of 162.5 yards per game, 4.8 yards per carry and five touchdowns on the ground.
Anthony Hitchens is the team’s leading tackler as he has piled up 135 tackles (81 solo) with 6.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble. Reggie Ragland contributes 86 tackles (46 solo) with half a sack plus three tackles for loss while Dee Ford (55 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, seven forced fumbles), Xavier Williams (47 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, forced fumble) and Chris Jones (40 tackles, six tackles for loss, two forced fumbles) are solid in the front seven as well. The Chiefs have allowed just 11 runs of at least 20 yards this season but has seen the opposition move the chains 129 times on the ground this season.
Notable Rushing Statistics
Indianapolis Colts Offense
- 21st in run play percentage (38.96 percent)
- 12th in rushing attempts per game (26.1)
- 17th in rushing yards per game (112.8)
- Tied for 21st in yards per carry (4.2)
- Tied for 16th in rushing TD (13)
- Tied for 17th in longest rush (53 yards)
Kansas City Chiefs Defense
- 7th in percentage of run plays against (38.32)
- 17th in run plays per game against (26.6)
- 27th in rushing yards allowed per game (132.1)
- 31st in opposing yards per carry (five)
- Tied for 29th in rushing TD allowed (19)
- 2nd in longest rush allowed (30 yards)