Statistically-speaking, the Indianapolis Colts running attack is not where it needs to be at this point in the season.
Running back Joseph Addai had 44 yards on 15 carries in the Colts' 21-14 win over Oakland, making six straight games where Addai did not break the 100-yard mark in a game.
The Colts have averaged 73.2 rushing yards a game and 2.9 yards a carry over that stretch. Manning has been sacked 12 times. Indianapolis has yielded as many as 20 sacks once in the past four years. Manning has gone down 20 times this season with two games to play.
Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy isn't pushing the panic button. But Colts center Jeff Saturday knows that improvement is needed. And quickly.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
"I think up front we're not that happy with our performance," Saturday said recently. "We gave up some sacks and we've got to play better and be accountable in what we do."
Injuries have been part of the problem. Rookie OT Tony Ugoh missed five games in the middle of the season with a neck injury (pinched nerve). Veteran offensive tackle Ryan Diem, meanwhile, has been sidelined the last three weeks with a sore knee.
And that's not all. Guard Jake Scott played against the Raiders, but did not practice most of last week due to a foot injury.
Quarterback Peyton Manning knows what the problem has been.
"Just like when you don't have a receiver playing, it's going to affect the quarterback," Manning said last week. "When you don't have a tackle playing, it's going to affect the guard. It's going to affect the center."
Consistency has been hard to come by. Still, at 12-2 and with a fifth-straight AFC South title under its belt, Indianapolis still finds itself in a pretty good position. But there is always room for improvement.