The Indianapolis Colts’ running back tandem had predictably mixed results in Sunday’s 49-27 win over Washington at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Herron gave the sluggish run game a much-needed boost with a 49-yard touchdown run in the second quarter for his first NFL score. A sellout crowd shouted his nickname, “Boom!”
He finished with a career-high 88 yards rushing on just eight carries, an 11-yard average. Richardson, who came off the bench last week in favor of Herron, ran for just 12 yards on eight carries, 1.5 yards per carry.
The one drawback for Herron was a lost fumble in the second consecutive game. That got him some time on the bench. And the second-year pro was hard on himself afterward.
Asked if he looked at the touchdown or the fumble more, he said, “Me? I look at the fumble. It was a good run, a good touchdown, but like I was saying last week, any time you fumble, it’s a terrible thing and just something you don’t need to do. Got to keep getting better. I definitely look at the fumble.”
It’s a sobering reminder that mistakes are unacceptable, although Herron has outperformed Richardson in two games since his promotion due to the loss of leading rusher Ahmad Bradshaw to a season-ending fractured fibula.
Herron ran “hard,” coach Chuck Pagano said, but the comment immediately shifted to, “Things we’ve got to clean up moving forward, penalties obviously, turnovers, you can’t have them.”
In the past two games, Herron has rushed for 153 yards on 20 carries, 7.6 yards per carry, with the one score and two lost fumbles. He’s quicker than Richardson and hits the line with more speed, as evidenced by his touchdown run, a quick hitter on the left side. He’s also caught seven passes for 39 yards.
Just like when Bradshaw was playing, the backup has put up bigger numbers than Richardson, who in the past two games has 54 yards rushing on 21 carries, 2.6 yards per carry, with one touchdown.
“We have so many weapons on offense,” Herron said, “it is tough to get everybody the ball but we work it out.”
Many fans have seen enough of Richardson, who has yet to run for a 100-yard game in his two seasons with the Colts since being acquired from Cleveland for a 2013 first-round pick. The plea is for more “Boom,” although his ball security is in question.
“I think we got a good start with the run game,” Herron said. “The offense played pretty well as a whole. Obviously we have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and executing a little bit better. Overall, I think we got better today.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.