St. Louis Post-Dispatch Super Bowl XLI Preview

Filed in SportsTags: Colts, Indiana, Indianapolis, NFL

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch previews Super Bowl XLI

In an otherwise decent analysis, I found this little gem [emphasis added]:

On running downs, the Bears like to load the box with an extra defender or two. Their starting point against every opponent is stuffing the run, and making teams one-dimensional. That was the case against the Saints, who ran only 12 times for 56 yards. Colts running backs Joseph Addai and Dominic Rhodes combined for 1,722 rushing yards and 12 TDs during the regular season, but they're not in the class of McAllister and Bush.

Interesting comment, that. Let's compare, shall we?

New Orleans RBs

  • Deuce McCallister: Rushing 244/1057 yds, 4.3 ypc, 10 TD
    (Receiving 30/198 yds, 6.6 ypc, 0 TD)
  • Reggie Bush: Rushing 155/565 yds, 3.6 ypc, 6 TD
    (Receiving 88/742 yds, 8.4 ypc, 2 TD)
  • Total: Rushing 399/1622 yds, 4.1 ypc, 16 TD
    (Receiving 118/940 yds, 8.0 ypc, 2 TD)

Indianapolis RBs (Reg. Season)

  • Joseph Addai: Rushing 226/1081 yds, 4.8 ypc, 7 TD
    (Receiving 40/325 yds, 8.1 ypc, 1 TD)
  • Dominique Rhodes: Rushing 187/641 yds, 3.4 ypc, 5 TD
    (Receiving 36/251 yds, 7.0 ypc, 0 TD)
  • Total: Rushing 413/1722 yds, 4.2 ypc, 12 TD
    (Receiving 76/576 yds, 7.6 ypc, 1 TD)

In the regular season, New Orleans faced rush defenses that averaged #14.5 in the league. Indianapolis faced rush defenses that averaged #18 in the league. Among common opponents (regular season and playoffs) the Saints rushed 217/897 yds (4.1 ypc), while the Colts rushed 176/702 yds (4.0 ypc).

And bear in mind, during the regular season, Rhodes started for the Colts, with Addai seeing mostly second-half action. During the playoffs, Addai has been starting (against some of the league's best defenses in Baltimore and New England), with Rhodes playing long stretches in the second half.

New Orleans RBs (Playoffs: 2 games)

  • Deuce McCallister: Rushing 27/161 yds, 6.0 ypc, 1 TD
    (Receiving 7/47 yds, 6.7 ypc, 0 TD)
  • Reggie Bush: Rushing 16/71 yds, 4.4 ypc, 1 TD
    (Receiving 10/154 yds, 15.4 ypc, 1 TD)
  • Total: Rushing 43/232 yds, 5.9 ypc, 2 TD
    (Receiving 17/201 yds, 11.8 ypc, 1 TD)

Indianapolis RBs (Playoffs: 3 games)

  • Joseph Addai: Rushing 57/217 yds, 3.8 ypc, 2 TD
    (Receiving 12/52 yds, 4.3 ypc, 0 TD)
  • Dominique Rhodes: Rushing 41/193 yds, 4.7 ypc, 0 TD
    (Receiving 6/62 yds, 10.3 ypc, 0 TD)
  • Total: Rushing 98/410 yds, 4.2 ypc, 2 TD
    (Receiving 18/114 yds, 6.3 ypc, 0 TD)

In the playoffs, New Orleans faced rush defenses that averaged #16 (#26, #6) in the league. Indianapolis faced rush defenses that averaged #8 (#18, #2, #5) in the league.

Clearly, Addai/Rhodes are "in the same class" as McCallister/Bush. They had more total yards, more yards per carry, and slightly fewer rushing TDs. The only real statistical difference comes in receiving. Brees favored his RBs as secondary receivers, whereas Manning favors his TEs. (Compare: the Saints' leading TE had 18 receptions and was Brees' #8 receiver; the Colts' leading TEs had 37 and 30 receptions and were Manning's #3/4 receivers, and their third TE had 18 receptions as Manning's #7 receiver. Meanwhile, Bush/McCallister were Brees' #3/6 receivers; Addai/Rhodes were Manning's #5/6 receivers.)

I don't think the Bears will be approaching this game thinking of Addai and Rhodes as "not in the same class" as McCallister and Bush.