NFL playoffs: Kansas City vs. Indianapolis

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

By Michael Marot

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Larry Johnson carried Kansas City right into the playoffs.

If it takes a larger workload load to keep them there, Johnson’s ready.

“You can’t sit here and say you’re tired,” the star running back said. “You’ll have about three or four months of relaxation after the Super Bowl to say you’re tired, but this isn’t the time to do it.”

Until that next loss, the Chiefs (9-7) will continue to rely on Johnson.

This season, he set an NFL record with 416 attempts, a trend four-time AFC South champion Indianapolis (12-4) expects will continue today in the AFC wild-card game.

Game-time is 4:30 p.m.

Atlanta’s Jamal Anderson set the previous mark (410) in 1998

On paper, Johnson appears to have a decided advantage.

The Colts finished this season with the NFL’s worst run defense (173.0 yards) and broke a 53-year-old franchise record by allowing opponents to run for 5.3 yards per carry.

Now they must figure out how to slow Johnson, the league’s No. 2 runner with 1,789 yards and 17 touchdowns.

Johnson’s career-high of 211 yards came against Houston in November 2005, but the Colts believe they can slow him down with a conventional approach.

“We have to gang-tackle and get more guys around the ball,” three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Dwight Freeney said. “We have to swarm to the ball.”