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Colts Rookie Report: Week 13 vs. Texans

Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

OFFENSE

Jonathan Taylor has started to string together good performances. While he missed the Titans game due to COVID-19 protocols, his last game against the Green Bay Packers was arguably his best of the season. In Week 11, Taylor had 90 yards on 22 rushes and four receptions for 24 yards. The only thing he didn’t do was hit pay dirt. Against Houston, Taylor led the team with 91 rushing yards on 13 carries and added three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Taylor’s impact in the game was dynamic. On an early run he helped set the tone for the Colts offense by carrying multiple defenders after contact for five or six extra yards. He also had an early touchdown on a designed swing pass that was identified by Philip Rivers pre-snap. It was the first time this season Colts fans have really seen his speed in the open field. He had the team’s longest rush of the season of 24 yards as well and was key to a punishing second half drive that should have put the game away.

The only other thing that stands out is how odd it was that Taylor didn’t get more involved in the offense early in the game. Two big first half plays were momentum shifters and he was not particularly involved until the second half. It’s time to consider having Taylor carry a heavy load out of the backfield again. He’s starting to put it together and he’s displaying better vision and the ability to break tackles.

While Michael Pittman Jr. didn’t lead the way for the Colts in the air, he is still getting heavy utilization. With five receptions on five targets for 46 yards, Pittman Jr. was second on the team in each of those categories to only T.Y. Hilton. The only thing Pittman Jr. is waiting to build on is his touchdown total. For a big bodied receiver whose playing history is littered with touchdown receptions and deep contested catches, he has yet feature these traits at the NFL level.

DeMichael Harris has continued to see his role in the offense reduced since he had a couple of impressive games earlier in the season. There is no questioning his speed but Frank Reich and Nick Sirianni appear content giving Harris an end around or attempting a wide receiver screen once or twice per game. It seems that his time impacting games may be over for the 2020 season.


DEFENSE

Julian Blackmon continues to be the only defensive rookie to receive playing time. He also continues to receive every defensive snap and plays a critical role in the deep areas of the Colts Cover-2 base defense. Blackmon finished the game with four total tackles but no other statistical production. This is a another quiet game for the rookie and the biggest attention he received was when he allowed Texans’ receiver Keke Coutee to get behind him for an easy long catch in the first half.


SPECIAL TEAMS

Colts rookies continue to be big special teams contributors. Jordan Glasgow picked up a special teams tackle. Rodrigo Blankenship had another perfect day, including an important 42-yard field goal near the end of the first half. Isaiah Rodgers came back after a couple of weeks dealing with an injury to average just under 26 yards on three returns. He displayed his speed and still is a weekly threat to break a big play on special teams.