The news coming out of Indianapolis following a complete evisceration at the hands of the New England Patriots on their home field is not encouraging. Ahmad Bradshaw has reportedly suffered a broken ankle, an injury that would likely put an end to his season, although there is a slight possibility the injury is not too severe, allowing him to come back for the Colts' postseason run.
This places the brunt of the burden for sustaining the Colts' rushing attack on the shoulders of Trent Richardson. Richardson has had a rocky start to his NFL career, getting traded by the Cleveland Browns after they spent a top 5 draft pick on him and failing to live up to the lofty expectations placed on him after a stellar college career at Alabama.
Richardson's statistics do not inspire confidence. After a somewhat promising rookie season in Cleveland, when he produced 950 yards and 11 touchdowns over the course of 15 starts, his production has gone off a cliff since. Richardson averaged a paltry 3 yards per carry while splitting time between Cleveland and Indianapolis last season and had fallen out of favor this season due to the emergence of Bradshaw.
Bradshaw is a dual threat, one who scares defenses with elite speed and pass catching skills out of the backfield. Richardson's stats this year? 391 yards and 2 touchdowns on 115 carries, with a 3.4 yards per carry average. While he's added 22 receptions for 203 yards, he has not shown the ability to be a bell cow back since the 2012 campaign.
For a team that is in the thick of the playoff hunt, with only the unproven Dan Herron sitting behind T-Rich as any sort of alternative, the time has come for Richardson to prove he was worth the 1st round pick Indianapolis coughed up for him last season. Andrew Luck has emerged as a top flight quarterback and the Colts' schedule down the stretch is filled with enough cupcakes to incite a diabetes outbreak.
If Richardson cannot hold the fort against the Jaguars, Redskins, Browns, Texans, Cowboys, and Titans, allowing Indianapolis to secure their division, he may find himself in danger of being out of the league once his rookie contract expires. It's put up or shut up time for the man they call T-Rich.