SAN FRANCISCO -- Quarterback Andrew Luck earned bragging rights Sunday in his first NFL game against Jim Harbaugh, his former Stanford coach, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 27-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers.
After the game, Luck was more interested in bragging about his team's dominant running attack that rolled up 179 yards than about his victory over Harbaugh.
Ahmad Bradshaw carried 19 times for 95 yards and a touchdown. Trent Richardson, just four days after coming to the Colts from the Cleveland Browns in a trade, scored a 1-yard touchdown on his first carry and finished with 35 yards on 13 carries. Donald Brown added 25 yards on three carries, and Luck chipped in with 24 yards and a key fourth-quarter touchdown on four carries.
"Trent Richardson being here for a Thursday and a Friday practice and then he's playing in the game and scores a touchdown. Are you kidding me?" Luck said. "He's a great football player, a great addition to our team. Between him Bradshaw and Donald Brown, that's a great corps of running backs."
Luck completed 18 of 27 passes for 164 yards and had a passer rating of 82.9.
Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he didn't how much satisfaction Luck took from beating Harbaugh, but he noticed that the quarterback was "grinning from ear to ear" after game.
"I've never seen him smile like that," Pagano said. "This one meant a lot to him. I don't think there was anyone who wanted this win more than No. 12."
What the 49ers said
"We just haven't made plays. We've got to look at ourselves and see what's going on and see what we're not doing right. We've got the talent. We've got a great coordinator. We've just got to keep driving and getting in a rhythm. We're getting out or rhythm and going three-and-out." -- running back Frank Gore
What the Colts said
"It's one of those games that you look back and say, maybe five, six years down the road, you say that was a signature win, maybe one of those wins that propel you to do great things." -- Colts coach Chuck Pagano
What we learned about the 49ers
1. The 49ers' offense is running low on dangerous receiving threats, and that's allowed opposing defenses to load up Frank Gore and the run. The 49ers have scored a combined 10 points over the past two weeks in losses to Seattle and Indianapolis. Michael Crabtree, the 49ers' leading receiver last year, suffered a torn right Achilles tendon during an offseason practice and isn't expected back until late in the season. When tight end Vernon Davis was forced to miss Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, QB Colin Kaepernick had only one legitimate target in the passing game, wide-out Anquan Boldin.
2. The 49ers' defense is not the dominant force it was for much of the past two seasons. The 49ers gave up 27 points to the Colts, which should not have come as a shock. In their past six games, dating to last season and including the playoffs, the 49ers have allowed 173 points, an average of 28.8 per game. Even their vaunted run defense has struggled. The Colts ran for 179 yards. "We didn't play 49ers defense," safety Donte Whitner said. "We'll go back to the drawing board and we'll get it all corrected, come out and play with passion, be physical and disciplined and we'll go in and get a win Thursday."
What we learned about the Colts
1. The trade this week for running back Trent Richardson paid instant dividends Sunday and should continue to pay off down the road. In Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown, offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton has a stable of running backs for his power running game. Bradshaw ran for 95 yards and a touchdown, Richardson for 35 yards and a score and Brown for 25 yards against the 49ers. The better the Colts run, but easier life will be for quarterback Andrew Luck. "To establish the running game is huge," Luck said. "It slows down the rush. There's some monsters and werewolves that rush for them."
2. The Colts have more going for them than just Andrew Luck and company. They can play some defense, too. Through three games they allowing an average of just 16.0 points. The Colts held the 49ers to 14 first downs and 254 yards of total offense. Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick went 13-for-27 for 150 yards and no touchdowns. He threw one interception, lost a fumble and ran for only 20 yards on seven carries. Frank Gore ran for 82 yards, but all but 12 of those yards came in the first half. "Job 1 was taking away Kaepernick, and 1-B was taking away Gore," Colts defensive end Robert Mathis said.