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Colts Rookie Report: Week 15 vs. Texans

NFL: Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

OFFENSE

Jonathan Taylor continues to separate himself as the most impactful Colts’ rookie this season. He led the way once again for the Colts backfield, generating 83 yards on 16 carries (a 5.2 yards-per-carry average) and a touchdown. He also had four receptions on five targets for 12 yards (tied for second on the team in receptions and targets). What most impressive about this streak for Taylor is that these games have featured both his speed in the open field and power between the tackles.

He will have a tough test against a stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense, particularly if the Colts defense doesn’t keep Pittsburgh in check in the first half.

Michael Pittman Jr. caught two passes on three targets for 19 receiving yards. He remains involved in the offense but has not been a priority for weeks. He is yielding targets and production to T.Y. Hilton and Zach Pascal, two of the Colts most productive receivers over the last few seasons.

He will need to earn his way back into a bigger role if Indianapolis hopes to complete their late-season offensive transformation.


DEFENSE

Julian Blackmon remains the lone rookie to get meaningful reps on this talented Colts defense. Unfortunately, he has continued to see his impact on games fade over the last few weeks. His only production on Sunday was a half tackle. Deshaun Watson also had a big day through the air and he is one of those who is primarily responsible for ensuring that doesn’t happen.

The calls for Blackmon to be seriously considered for Defensive Rookie of the Year are starting to fade. He’ll need big games over the next two weeks to put himself back into that discussion.


SPECIAL TEAMS

Rodrigo Blankenship finished the game perfect again. One of his two field goals was from 53-yards — which is the longest of his short NFL career. Nailing this kick was important not only for Blankenship’s confidence but for Indianapolis to know that he has the leg to get the job done if it comes down to it. His only other attempt from 50 yards bounced off of the cross-bar and fell short.

Isaiah Rodgers had one kickoff return in the game. His only return was ill-advised and came from at least five yards deep in the end zone. He managed to get the ball back to only the 19 yard-line. More encouraging is that teams are respecting his speed and big-play ability. This is reflected by the fact that kickers are regularly trying to kick the ball through the back of the end zone.