Top 10 Indianapolis Colts RBs of All-Time

I personally love watching running backs, especially their footwork. Seeing highlights of defenders “breaking their ankles” as running backs slide passed them are some of my favorite sports videos to watch. The Colts had their fair share of the best running backs in NFL history. In fact, 3 of the top 13 running backs on the rushing yards all-time leaderboard played for the Colts for at least three seasons of their career. I’ll be going over my list for the top-10 running backs of all-time, mainly focusing on their time with the Colts if they also played for other teams as well.

RankPlayerSeasons Played for the Colts
1Edgerrin James1999-2005
2Marshall Faulk1994-1998
3Lydell Mitchell1972-1977
4Lenny Moore1956-1967
5Joseph Addai2006-2011
6Eric Dickerson1987-1991
7Alan Ameche1955-1960
8Frank Gore2015-2017
9Dominic Rhodes2001-2006, 2008, 2010
10Tom Matte1961-1972

1. Edgerrin James

Edgerrin James is basically the unanimous number one running back in Colts’ history. He sits on the top of the Colts’ all-time rushing yards list by far with 9,226. He later tacked on more with the Cardinals and ended with the Seahawks to get him to 13th on the all-time rushing yards leaderboard. During his time with the Colts, he had not one, not two, not three, but four seasons of 1,500+ yards rushing. Three of those seasons, he finished with 2,000+ total yards from scrimmage. James was the definition of what an every-down back looked like. He was selected to 4 Pro Bowls with the Colts and a First-Team All-Pro in his rookie season. Just recently in 2020, he was elected into the Hall of Fame to join a list of the greatest running backs in NFL history. There is no one more deserving of this number one spot than James who helped change the Colts’ franchise into a winning one.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 12,065
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 75
Pro Bowls: 4
Championships: 0
HOF: Class of 2020

2. Marshall Faulk

Marshall Faulk really made his career in St. Louis with the Rams, but it was on the Colts where he heated up. He gave his first five seasons to the Colts in which he had four 1000+ rushing yard seasons and eclipsed 2,000 total yards from scrimmage in his final year before going to the Rams. He stacked up 42 rushing touchdowns while with the Colts while also being proactive in the passing game. We all know what he was able to accomplish after his time with the Colts, but let it not be forgotten the value that the Colts received from him while he was with them. Trading him away let Edgerrin James shine into who he became. Faulk’s effort sparked the Colts into many winning seasons and playoff appearances.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 8,124
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 51
Pro Bowls: 3
Championships: 0
HOF: Class of 2011

3. Lydell Mitchell

Lydell Mitchell sits at the number two spot on the Colts’ rushing yards leaderboard with 5,487 yards. He served his time for the Colts from 1972-1977, barely missing the Colts’ 1971 Super Bowl championship team. Nevertheless, Mitchell proved to all that he was no back to be messed with. Back when the length of the schedule was 14 games, he put up three 1,000+ rushing yard seasons, averaging well over 80 yards per game. In 1975, he rushed for his career-high 11 touchdowns while also contributing 4 more through the air. 15 touchdowns in 14 games are not too bad for fantasy owners (if there was fantasy football). In his last three seasons for the Colts, he was selected to the Pro Bowl with over 1,700 yards of total offense each season. If you are looking for the Colts’ running back of the 70s, it is no doubt, Lyndell Mitchell.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 8,010
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 41
Pro Bowls: 3
Championships: 0
HOF: No

4. Lenny Moore

Lenny Moore was the halfback for the Baltimore Colts from 1956-1967. He wasn’t always the leading rusher for the Colts during those years, but it cannot be overlooked that he left a huge impact. Immediately, it caught my eye that he was selected to 7 Pro Bowls and was First-Team All-Pro 5 of those times. It takes quite the athlete to retire with that type of accomplishment. He often had more work as the receiving back, totaling more receiving yards (6,039) than rushing yards (5,174). His 113 total touchdowns amount to the second most in Colts’ history behind Marvin Harrison. With Johnny Unitas to his side, he played a huge factor in the Colts’ offense, leading to 2 NFL Championships.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 11,213
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 111
Pro Bowls: 7
Championships: 2
HOF: Class of 1975

5. Joseph Addai

Because I am focusing on players that had the biggest impact on the Colts rather than career numbers, Joseph Addai comes in at #5. He spent all of his six seasons in Indianapolis and helped get them their 2nd Super Bowl championship in 2007, the first since 1971. His first two seasons saw the best results for Addai. He accumulated over 1,000 rushing yards in each with over 300 receiving yards on top of them. 2007 amounted to be his best season with 1,436 yards of total offense and 15 total touchdowns. In the Colts’ four playoff games in their Super Bowl run, he had 412 yards of total offense with 143 of them coming in the Super Bowl itself. He finished 7th on the rushing list for the Colts all-time and left his mark, setting the tone for the winning seasons ahead.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 5,901
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 48
Pro Bowls: 1
Championships: 1
HOF: No

6. Eric Dickerson

Eric Dickerson will reign as one of the greatest running backs of all time, but like Marshall Faulk, the Rams saw the best of his years. Regardless of that, the Colts got a couple of amazing years out of him, especially from the second half of 1987 when the Colts acquired him through 1989. He made the Pro Bowl each year while being selected for First-Team All-Pro in ‘87 and ‘88. In ‘88, he averaged 103.7 rushing yards per game, finishing the season with 1,659 rushing yards. He also contributed 377 receiving yards, giving himself 2,036 total yards of offense. He also totaled 15 touchdowns just to top out the monster season he had. Even with these crazy numbers, it is only a small highlight in Dickerson’s whole career. In his stint with the Colts, he grew to 4th on the Colts rushing yards leaderboard while sticking at 9th in the NFL rushing yards leaderboard.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 6,276
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 35
Pro Bowls: 3
Championships: 0
HOF: Class of 1999

7. Alan Ameche

Alan Ameche is listed as a fullback but was the Colts’ leading rusher for five seasons from 1955-1959. He was selected to the Pro Bowl each of his first four seasons and was First-Team All-Pro his rookie season. He played back when it was just a 12-game season, but he totaled 961 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns his rookie season. The next year was barely a step down with 585 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns. His work in the backfield contributed to 2 NFL championships for Baltimore. The Colts were just in their 3rd year as a team when Ameche joined and gave them the energy they needed to become a powerhouse in the AFC. He now ranks 8th on the Colts’ rushing leaderboard with 4,045 yards and will last the foundation for the Colts’ franchise on the ground.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 4,778
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 44
Pro Bowls: 4
Championships: 2
HOF: No

8. Frank Gore

Like Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk, Frank Gore’s name will go down in rushing history forever. Most of his success came in San Francisco but his time in Indy showed how good he is. In his three seasons with the Colts, he started all 48 games he played and totaled 2,953 yards. He also added 789 receiving yards, giving a significant boost to the offense. While the Colts struggled as a team, Gore still gave shining numbers, making room for Marlon Mack to slip in when Gore left. He recently passed Barry Sanders for 3rd all-time in rushing yards and will most definitely make the Hall of Fame in the future. His time with the Colts was no different in the dominance he showed when he has the ball in his hands.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 3,742
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 19
Pro Bowls: 0
Championships: 0
HOF: Eventually

9. Dominic Rhodes

Dominic Rhodes started his rookie season with the Colts in 2001 and quickly made his name known. He ran for 1,104 yards with 9 touchdowns while picking up 224 more yards through the air. His one problem was holding on to the ball and was not used as much as he was in future seasons. Why Rhodes is on this list is his contribution to the Super Bowl run. He started all 16 games that season while splitting his carries with Addai. He picked up 892 yards of total offense on the season and put up 376 more yards in the playoffs. In the Super Bowl, he ran for 113 yards and a touchdown, pushing the Colts over the Bears for their first Super Bowl victory in over 30 years. While he was never a superstar, he gave a ton of value to the Colts, even resulting in a trophy.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 3,939
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 29
Pro Bowls: 0
Championships: 1
HOF: No

10 Tom Matte

Tom Matte spent 12 seasons with the Baltimore Colts and led the team in rushing four of those seasons. From 1967-1969, Matte showed his best stuff. He ran for 909 yards in 1969 which stands as his career-high, but it is his ability to get into the endzone that stands out during these years. He accumulated 12 total touchdowns in ‘67, 10 in ‘68, and his career-high 13 in ‘69. His efforts gave him 2 Pro Bowl selections and 1 First-Team All-Pro selection. He contributed to both an NFL championship in 1968 and the Super Bowl victory in 1971 before retiring after the 1972 season. He currently sits at sixth on the Colts’ rushing leaderboard with 4,646 yards. Paired with Lenny Moore in the backfield, it was difficult to stop the Colts during the 60s.

Stats while on the Colts

Yards from Scrimmage: 7,515
All-Purpose Touchdowns: 57
Pro Bowls: 2
Championships: 2
HOF: No

  
I am a student at the University of Michigan studying Sport Management. I have been involved in sports as long as I can remember, playing football, baseball, and basketball. I also love learning how to play songs on the piano and ukulele.

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