With the recent injury to Tennessee Titans workhorse Derrick Henry, Taylor has emerged from the shadow of his AFC South counterpart. Taylor leads the NFL in rushing yards (1,122), yards from scrimmage (1,444), rushing touchdowns (13) and longest run from scrimmage (83 yards). He’s also the first running back to reach 1,000-yard mark on the season.
Taylor currently averages 5.8 yards per carry and has over 100 total yards in eight consecutive games. Here are his numbers since Week 4:
Taylor is only 48 yards away from surpassing his rushing yardage total from his entire rookie season and two rushing first downs away from eclipsing his total from 2020.
When the Colts started the season 0-3, Taylor averaged only 57 rushing yards per game. Now 6-5 and in the midst of the AFC playoff chase, the Colts are on a three-game winning streak. In those past three games, Taylor has averaged 158 rushing yards.
What changed? His snaps. He is now the workhorse of the Colts offense.
Taylor had 32 carries and three receptions against Buffalo on Sunday, and he’s been on the field for more than 80% of the team’s offensive snaps each of the past two weeks.
Let’s examine some game film to learn why Taylor has been so effective.
He is best remembered for his time at quarterback late in 1965, when the playoff-hopeful Colts lost both Johnny Unitas and his backup, Gary Cuozzo, to injuries on successive weeks. In went Mr. Matte, who hadn’t taken a snap since college. First, while wearing a wristband “cheat sheet” listing plays for a streamlined offense, he led Baltimore to a 20-17 upset of the Los Angeles Rams, rushing for 99 yards. Then, in a playoff for the Western Conference championship, Matte led the Colts (10-3-1) against the favored Green Bay Packers.
Teammates dubbed him “The Arm.” America took note. Walter Cronkite interviewed the “instant quarterback” on the CBS Evening News. Telegrams poured in.
Green Bay won, 13-10, in overtime. Mr. Matte completed five of 12 passes for 40 yards and rushed for 57 more.
“He didn’t botch a handoff or muff a signal all day,” Colts coach Don Shula said afterward.
Many paid tribute:
Tom Matte and I loved playing football together. When we needed a runner, he rushed for 1000 yards. When we needed a blocking back, he blocked well for Norm Bulaich. He played QB in ‘65. His wife Judy took our family in during camp. I already miss you Brother. Go With God. pic.twitter.com/8C3mmKRPHF
Former Baltimore Colts great Tom Matte has passed away. Matte spent his entire 12 year career in Baltimore. Bruce Cunningham, who worked closely with Matte for years as a broadcaster, joined @JasonLaCanfora and @KenWeinmanSport and reflected on his legacy. https://t.co/BXKe6Gw7l4
Tom Matte of the Baltimore Colts died last night.I was with the Colts for most of his Career.Tom could do anything . He was a RB as well as playing QB in one of the great playoffs of the 60’s against The Packers in 1965. A missed FG that was called good cost us the game .RIPTom
The Colts had gotten on the board early in the game when Wentz through a short pass Jonathan Taylor took a long way … 76 yards.
Carson Wentz & Jonathan Taylor (76-yard TD)
Taylor reached a top speed of 20.60 mph on his 76-yard catch & run, the 9th time he's reached a speed over 20 mph on an offensive touch since entering the NFL in 2020, most among all RBs in that span.#StatThat | Powered by @awscloudpic.twitter.com/8MRjBjyBZ3
The series will premiere Nov. 17 (10 p.m. ET) on HBO and streaming on HBO Max and figures to include plenty of behind-the-scenes focus on quarterback Carson Wentz, as he tries to resurrect his career after his trade from the Philadelphia Eagles to reunite with coach Frank Reich, and linebacker Darius Leonard, one of the game’s best defensive players. The Colts also have one of the most colorful and candid owners in sports in Jim Irsay.
“We could not be more thrilled to bring Hard Knocks and the remarkable behind-the-scenes access it provides for the entirety of an NFL season,” said Ross Ketover, NFL Films Senior Executive. “Thanks to HBO, along with the incredible cooperation from the Colts, we are able to deliver a groundbreaking new edition of the series.”