INDIANAPOLIS – The workload had to feel like he was back in a Big Ten battle for the University of Wisconsin.
In Jonathan Taylor’s first NFL start, Frank Reich and the Colts wasted no time showing what they thought of the rookie’s ability to handle a big game plan.
-How’s 11 carries on the first drive of the game?
-How’s a total of 18 carries in the first half—the most for any NFL running back since December 2018?
-How’s 26 carries for the game—no rookie running back had more than 20 rushing attempts in the NFL since 2016?
Yep, the Colts feel quite comfortable with Jonathan Taylor as their RB1.
Frank Reich’s clear plan in Week Two was to feature Taylor, and the rookie delivered with hard running and ball security.
Taylor finished his starting debut with 26 carries for 101 yards.
Once Taylor received those early handoffs, he might as well have been back in Camp Randall wearing red and white.
“Especially after the first carry, you kind of get into that mindset,” Taylor says. “You break the ice, and you realize it’s still just football until you refocus, lock in and focus at your task at hand each and every single play. When you keep doing that play, after play, after play, next thing you know it’s the fourth quarter, and if you’ve been doing that each play, the results should be in your favor.”
It was surprising to see Taylor’s long rush at just 13 yards on Sunday (in 35 carries this season Taylor’s longest rush is only 13 yards), considering the home run ability he brings with 4.3 40-yard dash speed.
Sunday was more of the 226-pound Taylor on display, as he routinely fell forward in methodically reaching the 100-yard mark.
Honestly, it seemed like a rather ho-hum performance from Taylor, with the veteran quarterback knowing that there’s more for the rookie runner once his vision continues to grow.
“I mean you are talking about the second game with no OTAs, zero preseason games, and he was the workhorse,” Rivers said of Taylor after the 28-11 win over the Vikings. “Jonathan is going to be a heck of a player. You still see where I think its lack of experience. I mean we all make mistakes, and I’m not pointing out his, but just the confidence when he make a couple cuts – he made some unbelievable cuts, unbelievable runs where you can see the more experience he gets, he is going to make those cuts without any hesitation and continue to run confident.
“He is only going to continue to get better.”