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2013 NFL Grades, Week 11: Trent Richardson trade looks bad early

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Eight carries for 22 yards? This isn't what the Colts had in mind when they traded for him.
Eight carries for 22 yards? This isn't what the Colts had in mind when they traded for him. (Getty Images)

Here's the good news: the Colts won and moved to 7-3, which means they're that much closer to not losing a really, really valuable pick in the Trent Richardson trade. Here's the bad news: the NFL doesn't offer take backs. Because right now the Colts would probably like one of those on the Richardson deal.

Richardson was Indianapolis' third-leading rusher, behind former first-round pick Donald Brown ... and quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck scored a touchdown too, which means that he has three on the season, which is one more than Richardson has since arriving in Indianapolis.

That's really not good when he's going to cost a first-round pick in the future.

Again, we can look on the bright side here and point out that since Richardson's arrival Brown has turned into a viable feature back. He had two rushing touchdowns on Thursday night (again, that's the same number T-Rich has since the trade) so that's good.

But what this boils down to me is a problematic approach with the Colts offense. Are they really doing the right thing by not cutting Luck loose? Shouldn't they be taking some shots down the field to T.Y. Hilton? Luck would never say anything about it because that's how he rolls. But the idea of this physical, dominating team only really works when you can do it week in and week out. We saw Indy out-phsyical the 49ers in San Francisco and roll to a victory.

But we've also seen the Colts struggle out of the gates while trying to be more physically dominant against teams. They've been outscored 66-6 in the first halves of the last three games. A better plan of attack -- in my humble opinion -- is to take the late-game heroics out of the equation by letting Luck throw the ball around the field.

"Not sure. We definitely don't want to do [dig holes for ourselves]," Luck said. "I think at the end of the day winning is what matters. I think we're fortunate to survive our mistakes. We know that has to be fixe dand we'll work on that in practice."

The second half of the game showed what the Colts can be when everything's working. They ran the ball well (because Brown was running it?) and did smart things in the passing game to take advantage of Fleener, particularly against an impressive Titans secondary. They controlled and dominated the game after the break and took major advantage of Titans mistakes.

Perhaps with Reggie Wayne out and missing certain personnel it's the smart play. It just seems silly to limit their first-round quarterback -- their most effective weapon -- at the expense of the two first-round running backs.

TeamGradeAnalysis
Colts 30, Titans 27
BStrong second-half effort from the offense, particularly from Donald Brown, who ran the ball really well. Trent Richardson wasn't impressive, but Andrew Luck did Andrew Luck things, particularly in the second half. They flipped the script in about 50 seconds to start the second half.
CThey completely abandoned the run in the second after a dominant performance from Chris Johnson in the first half. The defense did nice work limiting the Colts passing game but a couple costly mistakes really torched the Titans in the second half.
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