Saints running back Darren Sproles tries to evade Panthers defensive tackle… (Chris Keane / Reuters )
New Orleans running back Darren Sproles was described as "a handful" by Indianapolis Coach Jim Caldwell.
But that makes the assumption the Colts can get their hands on him in the first place.
That's a tall order, even though the 5-foot-6 Sproles is typically the smallest player on the field or on either sideline. He has a rich history of tearing up the Colts, though, dating to his days with San Diego.
In a 2008 playoff game, Sproles scored a key 56-yard touchdown on a screen pass, helping the Chargers to a 28-24 victory over Indianapolis. A year later he played an even bigger role, burning the Colts for 105 yards in 22 carries with two touchdowns, had five catches for 45 yards and totaled 178 yards in returns. In overtime, he clinched another win over the Colts with a 22-yard touchdown run.
This season, his first with New Orleans, he's tied for second in the NFL with 39 receptions, is averaging 7.4 yards per carry, and is as explosive as ever in the return game — and more versatile than Reggie Bush.
"We've got to see that guy again, and he's playing as well as he's ever played," Colts President Bill Polian lamented on his weekly radio show, according to the Associated Press. "He's playing great in the running game, he's playing phenomenal in the passing game and, of course, he's always been dangerous in the return game. So you couple that with Drew Brees and a very good defense, and that makes for a long evening down there.
"You know, it seems like when things are going wrong, we see our greatest nemesis. If we never saw him again, that would be too soon."
— Sam Farmer