When it comes to paying close attention to NFL numbers, go figure.
As the Indianapolis Colts pile up the points, skill players insist it doesn’t matter to them who scores the most touchdowns.
But on the other side of the ball, defenders say who leads the team in various individual statistics is a significant motivator from a competitive standpoint.
What offensive and defensive players agree upon is that the “W” is most important. After that, well, it evidently depends upon whether you’re scoring or trying to stop guys from reaching the end zone.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw leads the Colts with five touchdowns, all on receptions. But the NFL’s No. 1 team in points scored has several options. And they do get to share in the workload because quarterback Andrew Luck spreads the football around.
Tight end Dwayne Allen has caught four TD passes. Tight end Coby Fleener has three. Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has two scoring catches. Luck and running back Trent Richardson have each run for a couple of touchdowns.
On an offense with nine players who have scored TDs, the depth is most evident when considering the Colts’ top two receivers in terms of catches and receiving yards, T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne, had only one touchdown apiece.
Share and share alike, insist Nicks, Bradshaw and Allen in this recent video.
On defense, three Colts are tied for the sack lead with three, linebackers Erik Walden, D’Qwell Jackson and Bjoern Werner. Walden’s next sack will mark his career best in a season. Ask him if leading the Colts in sack is a goal, he doesn’t hesitate to say, “Absolutely.”
It’s the same with nickel cornerback Darius Butler, who says defensive backs enjoy a friendly rivalry when it comes to statistics, particularly interceptions. They keep track of who has what during the season, as well as in their careers.
Cornerback Vontae Davis, cornerback Greg Toler and safety Mike Adams each have two interceptions this season. Toler gets a little extra credit for returning one of his for a touchdown at Jacksonville.
In terms of tackles, Jackson is tied for 17th in the NFL with 45 total stops. Adams and suspended safety LaRon Landry are a distant second with 23 tackles. Linebacker Jerrell Freeman, who led the Colts in tackles the past two seasons, has 21 in just two games because he sat out four games with a hamstring injury.
Walden, Butler and safety Sergio Brown explain why individual defensive statistics are important in this recent video.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.