INDIANAPOLIS — Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 250 yards and two touchdowns running the Colts into the NFL Playoffs in a 28-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Colts entered the game having needed some help in order to secure a spot in the post-season. They got that help in the form of the Buffalo Bills, who defeated the Miami Dolphins earlier in the day.
The Miami loss opened the door again for the Colts, but they would still have to beat the Jags in order for it to become a reality.
“You are one of 14 that are in it. Maybe I’m messing up on the math with them adding two extra teams,” said quarterback Philip Rivers. “Thankfully we are one of them. A lot of teams are going home today and it’s awesome to be in.”
Rivers had 164 yards passing along with a touchdown and an interception in the win.
In the first half, it appeared the Colts would have no problem with that as Indy scored 20 unanswered points before the Jags scored a touchdown before the end of the half to make the score 20-7.
Colts kicker Rodrigo Blankenship missed a 56-yard field goal to end the half. At that juncture, Taylor already had over 150 yards rushing and a touchdown.
The second half brought back some unwelcome deja vu for Colts fans.
Blankenship missed another field goal on the opening drive of the half, which set up the Jags for a drive that ended in a touchdown, cutting the Colts lead to just six points.
The Colts then went scoreless for seven straight drives, during which Taylor only received a space amount of carries. Thankfully, the defense delivered stops on all seven of those drives.
It was Taylor who gave the Colts the relief they needed taking the ball on a handoff from Rivers 45 yards to the endzone for a win-sealing touchdown. Rivers hit T.Y. Hilton on a subsequent two-point conversion for good measure.
A career day for Taylor, he finished the day with 253 yards on the ground, a new single-game franchise record. He also joins Edgerrin James as one of only two Colts in history to rush for over 200 yards in a game. He also eclipsed the 1,000-yard rushing mark on the year, the fifth rookie to do that in franchise history and the first Colt to rush for 1,000 yards since Joseph Addai in 2008.
“It just felt like he was running great and kind of had an idea coming in that we were going to do that,” said Head Coach Frank Reich. “Really with the idea of making sure – this is such a big game, an important game and he has been in beast mode as we’ve said, so he’s earned that right. He certainly looked great today.”
The win secures a spot in the playoffs for the Colts who finish the season 11-5.
With the Tennessee Titans winning a thriller against the Houston Texans, the Titans have won the AFC South. The Colts are a Wild Card and will face the Buffalo Bills on the road next week in the first round.
Reich says he’s disappointed that the Colts were unable to win the division this year, but that it “doesn’t take away from the thrill” of making the playoffs.