The rookie running back burst out in Week 5, churning just nine carries into 91 yards and a touchdown. After the big day -- which followed him missing the previous two weeks -- coach Chuck Pagano said he'd like to see Mack's role increase.
"I think it'd be wise to try to find ways to get him the football and get him more involved," Pagano said, via the team's official website. "I think that would've happened by itself had he been available the entire time. But it's good to have him back."
After flashing in the preseason, Mack saw 16 carries for 21 yards the first two weeks before sitting out Weeks 3 and 4.
The rookie returned in a big way. Mack displayed blazing speed to the edge and good one-cut vision. With defensive backs chasing T.Y. Hilton downfield, there is plenty of space on the second level for Colts running backs -- if they can get there. Mack's ability to out-flank box defenders provided plenty of galloping space in the 49ers' secondary Sunday.
Mack started to heat up in the second half, ripping off runs of 11 yards, 22 yards (touchdown), 16 yards (overturned touchdown) and a 35-yarder in overtime that set up the winning field goal.
A player with Mack's burst can threaten the defense from any vantage point on the field. It's a threat Pagano would like to see employed more as the season progresses.
"No matter if he's right here next to the quarterback or you motion him or line him up out of the backfield and you get into some empty situations -- much like San Fran did to us [Sunday] and most of our opponents are going to do with us," Pagano said. "You get those playmakers, you get them out in space and you're going to create the matchups that you want. He's a tough matchup."
Mack isn't the first running back to come after Frank Gore's throne. The rookie, however, has the best shot at a timeshare with the 34-year-old veteran. Mack's speed makes him the perfect complement to Gore, so long as the rookie doesn't obtain Knile Davis-syndrome and decide he must try to break every run outside.
If Mack can help jumpstart the Colts' running game, it will take pressure off Jacoby Brissett in the short term and aid Andrew Luck immensely when he eventually returns. Still in striking distance in the AFC South, the Colts' offense getting in gear for Luck's arrival to the lineup is dangerous for the rest of the division.