The running game coach Jim Mora has been looking for apparently showed up when Edgerrin James finally made it to the Indianapolis Colts' training camp.
The rookie running back didn't take long to show why the Colts thought he was worth $49 million.
Despite his holdout, James scored twice in the Colts' 37-7 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Saturday night, making the NFL look no harder than rushing for Miami.
James was designated the Colts' starting tailback when he was drafted in April. He missed three weeks of training camp while he worked out a seven-year contract. But if he improves with practice, Mora should finally have the running back he's wanted for years.
Playing in the first half, James rushed for 77 yards on 10 carries and scored on runs of 16 yards and 12 yards.
"It was satisfying, but the trick is to go out next week and work harder and harder," James said.
After his running backs were held to 80 yards on 40 carries in the first two exhibition games, Mora called the running game his biggest disappointment so far.
"Edgerrin really showed why we picked him so high," Mora said. "He gave us a spark and showed what he can do. He looks like the real deal."
The Colts (2-1) took James as the fourth overall draft pick, one ahead of Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams. By picking James, Indianapolis allowed the Saints to move up to get Williams. New Orleans, also looking to boost its running game, gave up eight draft picks, six this year and two next year, for Williams.
Williams did not play Saturday night, sidelined with an injured left ankle he suffered in the Saints' first exhibition game against Miami.
Quarterback Peyton Manning was as happy to see a solid rushing effort as Mora was. And a bit amazed at how quickly James steped into the NFL.
"Edgerrin ran the ball well and made a lot of guys miss," Manning said. "He hasn't played since his bowl game, so you'll usually see a flash and then some rust. You didn't see a lot of rust out there. He was beating cornerbacks to the end zone."
The Saints (1-1) took a 7-0 lead as Troy Davis scored on a 2-yard run with 8:16 remaining in the first quarter.
Davis had 76 yards on 16 carries in the first half, 59 of them on the Saints' opening drive and score.
But after holding the Colts to just 2 yards on their first possession, Manning found Marvin Harrison with a 33-yard touchdown pass that tied the game at 7-7 at the end of the first quarter.
Manning hit Keith Elias for a 12-yard touchdown and completed 9-of-15 passes for 121 yards in the first half.
Eric Olsen kicked a 46-yard field goal for the Colts and they had a 31-7 lead by halftime.
Manning, a New Orleans native, played in the Superdome every year as a high school quarterback. His victory over the Saints, his first NFL game in the Superdome, gave him a 5-0 lifetime mark in the stadium.
After the first drive, the Saints weren't effective in any part of their game.
Billy Joe Tolliver, the Saints' starting quarterback, completed 7 of 12 passes for 82 yards and was sacked twice and intercepted once. Danny Wuerffel completed 8 of 12 for 117 yards, but was sacked six times and fumbled three times, although only one was lost.
Quarterback Jake Delohomme finished up for New Orleans. He completed 9 of 22 for 115 yards, but was sacked by Van Tuinei with 2:36 remaining in the game and fumbled. Linebacker Bertrand Berry picked up the football and ran 77 yards for the final touchdown, making it 37-7 Indianapolis.
"We're embarrassed," Saints coach Mike Ditka said. "We don't like it, but the game doesn't count except from what we can learn from it."
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