Colts running back Vick Ballard stopped by the Fox 59 Studios after returning home from a playoff-clinching victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Ballard said this past weekend’s developments are making for a happy holiday season.
“This is maybe the best Christmas present I’ve ever had, a rookie, first year, going to the playoffs there is nothing better.”
Ballard carried the ball 20 times for 69 yards and sealed the victory with his 11-yard carry for a first down in the closing minutes. The rookie stayed in bounds and got the first down, thus allowing Andrew Luck to take a knee and run out the remainder of the clock following the two-minute warning.
“I thought I could’ve gotten more out of it, but I saw the first down marker and I just went for it. I had a flashback of an earlier game when I ran out of bounds. I didn’t want to do that this time so I just went ahead and got down,” said a chuckling rookie.
In the game, fellow first year player Andrew Luck set an NFL rookie record for passing yards in a season. The record-breaker came on a 23-yard pass to T.Y. Hilton late in the second quarter on a drive ended with an Adam Vinatieri field goal. It is safe to say general manager Ryan Grigson set the offense up for the future with his first Colts draft class by selecting guys like Ballard, Hilton, Coby Fleener, and Dwayne Allen after grabbing Luck with the top pick.
“It’s real cool, because we’re rookies, and now in our first year we’re making the playoffs on a team that went 2 & 14 the year before, so it’s definitely cool. Then, he is the number-one overall draft pick, you don’t know too many people that say they’re on the same team as the number-one overall draft pick,” added Ballard.
This week Ballard could get a little bit of rest if the Colts choose to let some players with bumps and bruises rest up against the Texans. The Colts have nothing to play for in the regular season finale, although there will be plenty of emotions inside Lucas Oil Stadium with the return of head coach Chuck Pagano. This entire season has been a whirlwind for Ballard, as he often has said, ‘I’m just a rookie’ but he understands exactly what Pagano means to this team.
“He is our leader. Whenever he went down to his illness, our goal was to extend the season for him so he could come back on the sidelines. That was our goal and we accomplished it,” added Ballard.
Pagano is expected to address the team during a 10 AM meeting and then meet with reporters later Monday afternoon. While Ballard admitted to feeling some bumps and bruises after the win against the Chiefs, there is no doubt the aches and pains are lessened by the success the Colts are having on the field and their head coach has had off the field.