For the first time this season, Indianapolis got key contributions from both of its second round rookie skill players.
Jonathan Taylor led the way on the ground with 90 rushing yards on 22 carries, and led the team with four receptions on his four targets for another 24 yards. Taylor’s day included long runs of 18 and 14 yards. A 20 yard touchdown run was nullified by a pretty ticky-tack holding call on wide receiver Zach Pascal.
Perhaps no contribution from Taylor was more important than what did in the third quarter. Down 14 to start the second half, Frank Reich and the Colts offense decided to get the ground game going. Taylor led the charge and accumulated 65 of his 90 rushing yards, helping to set the tone for the second half.
Michael Pittman Jr. also had a highly productive day. While he had only three receptions on three targets, he turned those opportunities into 66 yards and a touchdown. The 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter helped to tie the game in the first half. This continues a stretch of heavy offensive involvement since Pittman returned from his calf injury a few weeks ago and suggests his role as a primary offensive weapon is likely to continue.
DeMichael Harris did register a catch but only gained one yard. Given that he saw only 16 offensive snaps against Green Bay, he wasn’t a particularly big part of the game plan.
Safety Julian Blackmon continues to gain the respect of fans around the NFL. He finished third on the team with five tackles and made his presence felt all afternoon. He nearly deflected a pass deep in the middle of the field that displayed his incredible speed and range.
In overtime, Blackmon knifed through two blockers to put a hit on Marquez Valdez-Scantling and had the body control to bunch the ball out, forcing a fumble. The fumble was recovered by DeForest Buckner and put Indianapolis in a position to hit a game-winning field goal.
Defensive tackle Rob Windsor saw his first regular season action against Green Bay. He used his two defensive snaps to tally his first NFL tackle. Given the strength of the opponent and the gravity of the game, it’s an encouraging sign to see Matt Eberflus and his position coaches have the confidence to put Windsor into the game.
This was another big day for Rodrigo Blankenship, who hit four of his five field goal attempts and both extra points. His lone miss was a shot down the middle from 50 yards that hit the cross bar and bounced back into the field of play. Importantly, his big kicks included a 37-yarder early in the third quarter to start chewing away at a 14-point half time deficit. His 32-yarder in the early fourth quarter tied the game and his 43-yard field goal with just over nine minutes remaining gave Indianapolis its first lead of the day.
His most important kick, however, was his game winner in overtime. The Packers attempted to ice the rookie, in what would be the biggest kick of his young career, and he nailed a 39-yard kick to seal the win. This is the type of pressure situation kickers need to shine in and its encouraging for the Colts to see Blankenship come through.
Jordan Glasgow continues to make his presence felt on special teams. He picked up a special teams tackle. This moved him into second on the team in special teams tackles with five, behind only George Odum who has nine.