When you don’t play quarterback, it’s not easy to get yourself inserted into the MVP conversation, but Jonathan Taylor might have actually done that after what he did in Buffalo on Sunday.
In what was arguably the most impressive performance by any player this year, Taylor totaled 204 yards while scoring a total of five touchdowns in the Colts’ dominating 41-15 win over the Bills.
Taylor’s performance was even more impressive because he did it against a Bills defense that was surrendering just 89.3 rushing yards per game going into Week 11, which was the best mark in the AFC and third-best in the NFL. There was no reason to think the Colts were going to total more than 260 yards on the ground, but that’s exactly what they did and most of it came courtesy of Taylor, who simply couldn’t be stopped.
On the Colts opening drive alone, Taylor carried the ball six times for 35 yards, including a 3-yard touchdown, and that was a sign of things to come on the day.
That score kickstarted a day that ended with him rushing for 185 yards. Every time the Colts got near the end zone, they called Taylor’s number and every time they called, he answered. Not only did he have four rushing touchdowns, but he also added a 23-yard touchdown catch.
The five touchdowns by Taylor was even more impressive when you consider that the Bills had only surrendered five total touchdowns to running backs all season before Sunday. With his five scores, Taylor became the first player in Colts history to score five touchdowns, which is almost unbelievable when you consider that he plays for an organization that’s had guys like Edgerrin James, Marshall Faulk, Eric Dickerson and Marvin Harrison walk through its doors.
Taylor now has eight straight games with at least one touchdown and 100 or more scrimmage yards, which makes him just the second player since 1950 to pull that off. The only other player to do it was LaDainian Tomlinson, which is notable, because Tomlinson ended up winning MVP in 2006, making him one of just two running backs to win the award over the past 15 years. Taylor might not win MVP this year, but in a season where there’s no frontrunner, he certainly belongs in the conversation and if the Colts keep winning, he’s only going to become a more prominent part of that conversation.
Thanks to Taylor and a defense that’s slowly turning into one of the NFL’s best, the Colts are not only looking like playoff contenders, but they’re looking like a team that might be able to do some damage once the postseason rolls around.
Alright, let’s get to the grades for every game from Week 11. If you’re looking for a deeper dive on the Patriots’ blowout win over the Falcons that was played on Thursday, be sure to click here.
Indianapolis 41-15 over Buffalo
Colts-Bills grades by Tyler Sullivan (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Baltimore 16-13 over ChicagoCleveland 13-10 over DetroitHouston 22-13 over TennesseeMiami 24-17 over N.Y. JetsSan Francisco 30-10 over JacksonvilleMinnesota 34-31 over Green Bay
Packers-Vikings grades by Cody Benjamin (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Philadelphia 40-29 over New Orleans
Saints-Eagles grades by Jeff Kerr (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Washington 27-21 over Carolina
Titans-Saints grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Cincinnati 32-13 over Las VegasKansas City 19-9 over Dallas
Cowboys-Chiefs grades by Patrik Walker (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
Arizona 23-13 over Seattle
Cardinals-Seahawks grades by Jordan Dajani (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)
L.A. Chargers 41-37 over Pittsburgh
Steelers-Chargers grades by Bryan DeArdo (Love the grades? Hate the grades? Let him know on Twitter.)