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Monday, December 20, 2010
The Colts and Jaguars on runs up middle

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

The Indianapolis Colts had three runs of at least 49 yards on runs between the tackles through its first 13 games.

It got a tone-setting 49-yard run up the middle from Donald Brown on the Colts’ first possession Sunday.

Meanwhile Maurice Jones-Drew entered Week 15 as the NFL’s best running back up the middle, but never found space to run against the Colts.

ESPN Stats & Info tells us Brown had 10 carries for 81 yards and four first downs between the tackles while Jones-Drew took six carries 15 yards and got no first downs up the middle.

“They stopped our run pretty good, so hats off to them,” Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said. “But on the other hand, we gave them a two-edged sword. They were able to run and pass the ball and you can’t give Peyton Manning that.”

Terrance Knighton said after the Dec. 5 win at Tennessee that he didn’t believe anyone could run up the middle against the Jaguars. But the Knighton and Tyson Alualu interior combo didn’t dissuade one of the league’s least effective run teams from trying, and that was with Joseph Addai and Mike Hart out.

The threat of Brown up the middle opened up the rest of the field for Manning on play-action passes.

ESPN Stats & Info said Manning tied a season-high with 13 play-action pass attempts, completing six on screens and six on non-screens. The only incompletion came on a pass to Austin Collie that hit him in the chest. Collie made up for that mistake with two touchdown receptions off Manning play fakes.