The Colts leave week 2 with a perfect 12-0 all time record at home against the Vikings. They collected their first win of the season on a rather dominant performance. All three phases of the game really came together and played well, as Frank Reich likes to say.
Over the weekend, I offered the two players I thought needed to step up in order for the Colts to win on Sunday. Let’s check out how they played.
PLAYER: Jonathan Taylor (RB)
In just his second career NFL game, Jonathan Taylor ran for over 100 yards and scored his first touchdown.
After 26 carries and 101 yards on the ground, Taylor is the first Colts rookie running back with a 100 yard performance since Vick Ballard in 2012.
The Colts were able to stay in control for nearly all 60 minutes of the game because of Taylor’s dominance. Indy had nearly 17 more minutes of possession than Minnesota and had more than twice their total yardage, 175 total yards for the Vikings to 354 for the Colts.
A lot of the credit for Taylor’s game should go to the offensive line, who had an outstanding performance as well. As if we didn’t already know how good the o-line can be, this was just another example of what they are capable of.
Frank Reich promised after week 1 to run the ball more, and he did just that. Last week, the offense threw the ball 46 times and ran 22 times. It was the complete opposite on Sunday. There were only 25 passing attempts to a total of 40 rushes. This attack looks like it could be the winning formula for the rest of the season.
Taylor’s future looks extremely bright. He was a beast on the field and utilized his power very well. It often took two or three defensive players to take him to the ground. He was more than just power, though. He showed off his impressive agility and footwork continuously on Sunday as well.
If there is one negative to his game, it’s that on a few plays, Taylor didn’t seem to find the open lanes that the offensive line created and instead of finding those for extra yardage, he would push his way through a big group of purple and blue jerseys. I was waiting all game for him to break away for a big gain, and it just never happened. This will be fixed with more practice and reps with the team, so it isn’t a huge concern. He’s just a rookie after all. It is also important to note that finding the open lane is way easier while watching the game on TV where the camera is above the action. On the field is a totally different story, and in such a fast-paced game, there’s not much time for decision making.
Overall, Taylor played a fantastic game on Sunday, and filled in well for the injured Marlon Mack. Expect to hear Taylor’s name a lot for the rest of the season, and many years to come.
PLAYER: Xavier Rhodes (CB)
Rhodes was an easy choice for my defensive player this week because the Colts desperately needed improvement in pass defense this week, and he played all seven of his previous NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings.
Rhodes had one play in particular on Sunday where he leapt and stretched out his entire body to knock down a pass attempt with his fingers. It was an extremely athletic play, and kept the Vikings from potentially picking up some big yardage. This defended pass made up for the sole tally on his stat sheet for the game.
Great recovery by Xavier Rhodes here. Glad to see him bounce back from a bad week one. pic.twitter.com/8EczR4SnjM— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) September 21, 2020
Rhodes could have made a bigger impact, but he only played 28 of 54 defensive snaps which accounts for just 52% of plays. He went to the sideline with cramps according to Reich in his post game press conference.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins was held to a completion percentage of just 42.5% and threw for only 113 passing yards in the game. Such a significant improvement defensively from the Colts, and it shows a lot of promise for the future.