All Vick Ballard needed was five yards.
That’s the distance the Indianapolis Colts halfback launched from in overtime against the Tennessee Titans to reach the pylon. Ballard’s epic dive gave Indy the victory, and for it, he should be rewarded with more touches.
Following the rookie’s heroics, ESPN tweeted:
Holy moly, Vick Ballard just defied gravity.— ESPN (@espn) October 28, 2012
The Worldwide Leader wasn’t exaggerating. Check it out:
Ballard isn’t just a one-play wonder, though.
Sure, he began the season just how you would imagine a fifth-round pick would: extremely slowly. In the first four games, he failed to eclipse the 2.5 yards-per-carry mark in a single contest. Of course, he wasn’t really given the chance to get going through Week 6, having never recorded double-digit carries.
But when the Colts allowed Ballard to carry the workload against the Cleveland Browns last week, he excelled, rushing for 84 yards on 4.2 yards a pop. With 71 yards from scrimmage on just 13 touches versus the Titans, he proved his worth once again.
Andrew Luck may have been drafted 169 picks ahead of Ballard in the 2012 NFL draft, but the first overall selection can’t do it all. He has the potential to eventually be able to put an offense on his back, but in year one, Luck must run a balanced offense to succeed.
Indianapolis is 2-0 when Luck attempts fewer than 32 passes and just 2-3 when he exceeds that mark.
As the former Mississippi State back has shown in recent weeks, he’s talented enough to provide Luck with a respectable rushing attack. If the Colts simply trust Ballard and allow him to get into a rhythm, he’ll continue to do so.
That’ll only help Luck moving forward.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.