Fewer big plays make Colts work harder

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by NewsGrabber, Dec 17, 2008.

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  1. NewsGrabber

    NewsGrabber Guest

    Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky The Colts' big plays are down. Defenses have gotten more effective at making them drive the length of the field, and they've done so well enough to win seven straight.

    Indianapolis, long-known for its big-play offense, has just 11 pass plays of 30 yards or more, which ties the team for 23rd in the league. Arizona is tops with 23.

    "We probably haven't been as explosive on offense," Tony Dungy said in a conference call with Jacksonville reporters this week. "We haven't gotten those big plays. Teams are doing a good job taking the big play away from us, making us be patient. So we've had a lot more 12-play drives, 14-play drives. We opened up against Detroit and we scored the first time we had the ball but there was eight-and-a-half minutes gone off the clock when we scored. So it ended up being a short game with not a lot of possessions and a lot of our games have been that way this year."

    The Colts have 15 touchdown drives of 10 or more plays this season, which ties them for the most in the league with Houston and Denver.

    But that's actually on par with what the Colts have done the past several years.

    Colts touchdown drives of 10 or more plays, according to Elias Sports Bureau:

    2008: 15
    2007: 16
    2006: 18
    2005: 15
    2004: 14
    2003: 6
    2002: 7

    It's not so much that the long drives are up as it is that the big plays are down.

    Colts pass plays of 30 yards or more:

    2008: 11
    2007: 24
    2006: 21
    2005: 17
    2004: 30
    2003: 27
    2002: 18

    "[Teams are] playing us a lot of two-deep and taking the wide receivers away and making us run safe," Dungy said. "We can run it effectively enough and then throwing the ball to our insides guys and we have a lot of guys who have catches beside the two wide receivers. Our backs have done a good job catching the ball. Dallas Clark had 12 catches the other day, [Anthony] Gonzalez ... It hasn't been necessarily the big plays up the field and we've had to be patient and efficient and frankly early in the year we weren't that efficient and that's what has gotten better in November and December."

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