Well, the Colts couldn’t have drawn it up any better than that.
Jonathan Taylor is clearly the best healthy running back in the NFL, and an argument could be made that he’s the best when Derrick Henry is active too. Taylor has blinding, world-class, breakaway speed. He is a bulldozer in the hole and has more yards after contact than anyone else this season. He has been productive as a pass-catcher and his ability in the open field makes it impossible for any opponent to ignore him on screens or as a dump-off option. He is a willing blocker in the passing game.
Frank Reich did himself and his team a favor by leaning heavily on Taylor, especially given the weather and field conditions. The offensive line, with or without Quenton Nelson, is hitting on all cylinders as run blockers. They are all capable of getting to the second-level and throwing combo blocks that give Taylor options in the hole.
On the other side of the ball, the Colts' defense gave Buffalo fits. The defense collected three interceptions, forced another fumble, and got contributions at all levels. Xavier Rhodes tipped a pass that Kenny Moore tipped to himself for an interception. George Odum jumped a route to pick off a pass. Linebacker Zaire Franklin jumped a route late in the game to pick off a Mitchell Trubisky pass. Rookie defensive end Kwity Paye forced a fumble, picking up a sack in his second consecutive week.
Special teams units got in on the act. Granted, Isaiah McKenzie fumbled the ball on his own after tripping during a return, but this group has made big plays in consecutive weeks.
There is no question that this Colts team needed this win. As we’ve said for weeks now, the Colts have only one option for the rest of the season. No matter the opponent, no matter the circumstances, the Colts need to put together a string of wins. Getting to 6-5 is a great start. They’re still games back in the AFC South and competing with a bunch of other franchises for what will be a highly competitive wild card race.
There won’t be an opportunity for a big break or letdown either. The defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit Indianapolis next. A division game at Houston will be followed by the team’s Bye — which it needs desperately. Then the Arizona Cardinals and a hot New England Patriots team will stand in their way on the other side of the bye.
Great win. Great opportunity to put pressure on the rest of the AFC. Hopefully a great learning opportunity for Frank Reich and his offensive coaching staff. Jonathan Tayor is clearly the best offensive weapon in Indianapolis and figuring out ways to feature him more often and more consistently will create opportunities for everyone else.