CINCINNATI - Pro Bowl receiver Chad Johnson smiled at the suggestion that the Cincinnati Bengals could use him as a tailback in their next game.
Why not? The way teams have been running on the Indianapolis Colts' defense, there's almost no reason to throw.
The Bengals (8-5) are next in line to try to exploit those big holes in the Colts' defense. They play at Indianapolis (10-3) on Monday night in a game that will have a big effect on both teams' playoff outlook.
Most likely, it will be decided more by Rudi Johnson's runs than by Chad Johnson's catches.
“I know we're going to get a lot of Rudi,” Colts coach Tony Dungy said Thursday during a conference call. “But it won't be all Rudi because No. 85 (Chad Johnson), he won't let that happen. Unless they put him at tailback, it won't be all run. He may ask to play tailback if that's the game plan.”
The Bengals aren't saying. There's really no need to.
Last Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars showed everyone how to beat the Colts. They ran for an astounding 375 yards in a 44-17 victory, repeatedly gashing the NFL's worst run defense for long plays.
Rudi Johnson watched the film and smiled.
“There was a lot of space, you know what I mean?” he said. “A lot of space, a lot of room to run. Hopefully, we can get that same thing going on. If we can, it will be a long day for somebody.”
The Bengals' running game hasn't been up to its usual standards. Rudi Johnson is on pace to gain 1,297 yards, which would be less than his totals for each of the last two seasons. He set a club record with 1,458 yards last year.