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Colts Notebook: Running away with it

MIAMI, Fla. -- It was the Colts rushing attack, not the Bears, that made the most significant impact in Super Bowl XLI.

The talented duo of rookie Joseph Addai and veteran Dominic Rhodes combined for 190 yards on the ground -- Addai doing most of the damage in the first half, then Rhodes dominating in the second half. The Chicago safeties stayed back, and that's all the Colts needed to see.

"You just knew they were going to key on Peyton Manning," said Rhodes. "It was clear they were challenging us to run the ball. Well, we accepted that challenge. Put seven guys in the box and we're going to run the ball. The holes were there. Our line did a great job and everything just went our way."

First, there was Addai. The talented rookie out of Louisiana State University rushed for 77 yards on 19 carries and caught 10 passes for 66 yards. That's a combined 143 yards. A rookie? Not anymore.

"We knew we were going to have to run the ball and take advantage of some short passes," Addai said. "We took advantage of that and we were able to get it done. When you've got a quarterback like Peyton Manning and big play receivers like (Marvin) Harrison and (Reggie) Wayne, it makes things easier for everyone else."

Rhodes had 26 yards at halftime, but finished with 113 yards, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He also scored a touchdown on a 1-yard run.

"This was sweet," Rhodes said. "This makes all the hard work worthwhile." Aches and pains

Colts cornerback Nick Harper, who missed all the practices leading up to the game with a sore ankle, recovered in time to start the game. Harper, however, re-injured his ankle in the first half and did not return. ... Right tackle Ryan Diem sprained his ankle in the first half and also did not return.

Up for a challenge

Tony Dungy was one for two on challenges: He threw the red flag midway through the third quarter, contending the Bears defense had 12 men on the field prior to a quick snap by Manning. Replays revealed that Dungy was incorrect and the challenge cost the Colts a first down.

Late in the third quarter, Dungy challenged a call that had ruled Harrison out of bounds on a sideline catch. Replays reversed the call, showing Harrison dragged both feet in bounds. Now facing a third-and-short, Manning converted for a key first down on the next play.

Less than perfect

Plenty of mistakes: The rainy weather had to be a factor on the dropped extra point by punter Hunter Smith. He is normally one of the most sure-handed players on the team. The snap was slightly to his right. ... False starts: The Colts had four in the game, highly unusual for them. In the first series alone they had two false starts, one by left tackle Tarik Glenn, the other by right guard Jake Scott. Scott had another false start early in the third quarter and guard Ryan Lilja had one early in the fourth quarter.

Getting his kicks

Adam Vinatieri called the coin toss for the Colts, an unusual honor for a kicker. ... Also unusual was Vinatieri missing a 36-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half, but his three field goals did break the Super Bowl record for most career field goals.

"The only number I care about is the scoreboard," said Vinatieri. "It wasn't a great day for kicking, but at the end of the day we found a way to get it done."

On Smith's fumbled hold, Vinatieri said: "We have 12 kicking balls and unfortunately, 12 balls get really, really wet during a game like this. You do the best you can with what you've got."


For the Colts, the players who were left on the outside looking in were wide receiver Ricky Proehl, cornerback Tim Jennings, cornerback T.J. Rushing, linebacker Gilbert Gardner, guard Matt Ulrich, tackle Dan Federkeil, wide receiver John Standeford and defensive end Ryan LaCasse.

Happy return

Kelvin Hayden's interception return for a touchdown was the 10th in Super Bowl history. All were accomplished by the winning team. It was also the first interception of Hayden's career. "One," he said, "I'll never forget."

Andy Cohen is General Manager of Curtis Publishing Company, which publishes Dolphin Digest, Steelers Digest, Eagles Insider and Draft Digest.

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