Rhodes, Addai negate loss of James

Feb 5, 2007 - 3:33 PM By John Pezzullo PA SportsTicker Pro Football Editor

MIAMI (Ticker) -- The Indianapolis Colts didn't need their Edge after all.

Dominic Rhodes and rookie Joseph Addai showed the nation on Super Bowl Sunday that they were good enough to replace two-time rushing champion Edgerrin James and make the Indianapolis Colts a championship team.

Rhodes and Addai combined for 190 yards on 40 carries and Addai also had 10 catches for 66 yards in the Colts' 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in a rainy Super Bowl XLI.

"We got such a big lift from our running backs tonight in such adverse conditions," Colts coach Tony Dungy said. "They both held on to the ball, didn't turn it over and ran hard. They certainly did their jobs for us."

Rhodes recorded his first 100-yard rushing game since 2001, gaining 113 yards on 21 carries. Addai added 77 yards on the ground and caught 10 passes for 66 yards, falling one catch shy of tying a Super Bowl record.

"We just worked together," Rhodes said. "We knew when we lost him (James) it would be a big loss, but we came together as a team and we won it, baby. We have done what a lot of people said we couldn't do. We won the Super Bowl."

Last March, James left the Colts to sign a four-year, $30 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. It officially broke up the trio of quarterback Peyton Manning, James and wide receiver Marvin Harrison that was supposed to win a few Super Bowls.

Indianapolis' triplets were the best since quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith and wide receiver Michael Irvin led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles.

The Colts made the playoffs six times in seven years with their trio, but reached the AFC championship game just once, losing to New England in 2003.

Rhodes had been with the Colts since 2001, when he rushed for more than 1,000 yards. This season, Rhodes served as a complement to Addai, the Colts' first-round pick out of Louisiana State.

"I just got drafted at the right time," Addai said. "I'm glad I was able to help the guys get to this point. I think every football player from a young age wants to get to this point. A lot of players don't get here in their NFL career and I'm able to get here in my first year and actually win."

Addai rushed for 1,081 yards, averaged 4.8 yards per carry and caught 40 passes for 325 yards this season. Rhodes added 641 yards on the ground and 36 receptions for 251 yards.

In the Colts' four postseason wins, the two combined for 600 rushing yards and 29 catches for 188 yards.

James rushed for 1,159 yards and six touchdowns, but averaged just 3.4 yards per carry for the Cardinals.

For James, it clearly was a business decision to leave a championship contender and take the highest bid. Even if that bid came from a franchise that has not made the playoffs in eight years.

Ironically, Super Bowl XLI was held in James' backyard. James starred at the University of Miami before being selected fourth overall in the 1999 draft by Colts president Bill Polian. He holds the franchise records with 9,226 rushing yards and 64 rushing touchdowns. And this is a franchise which has featured the likes of Alan Ameche, Eric Dickerson, Lydell Mitchell and Marshall Faulk.

James even visited his former teammates in their hotel at Fort Lauderdale earlier in the week.

But James could only watch on Sunday when Manning and Harrison earned their Super Bowl rings with Addai and Rhodes in the backfield.

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