Sunday, as the rain came down at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York, so too did the loud, vibrant roars of nearly 72,000 Bills fans, silenced by the Indianapolis Colts’ finest performance of the season.
Even though the Colts were winners of four of their last five games and had climbed back to .500 for the first time all season, they still hadn’t shown the ability to beat an elite team through ten weeks.
That narrative changed Sunday.
The Colts came to play against the same team that, just ten months earlier, knocked them out of the playoffs and eliminated any chance at a deep run for the 2020 season.
From Indy’s opening possession, they relied heavily on their best offensive player in running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor — quite literally — carried the Colts’ offense from start to finish.
Against the No. 1-ranked defense, the second-year back put together his best performance of season, racking up 204 total scrimmage yards (185 rushing) and setting a franchise-record with five total touchdowns, including four on the ground and one through the air.
Taylor also became the first player in NFL history to record 175 or more rushing yards, four or more rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown in the same game.
With Sunday’s performance, Taylor currently ranks first in rushing yards (1,122), third in yards per carry (5.8), first in rushing touchdowns (13), first in total touchdowns (15), first in scrimmage yards (1,444), and first in explosive plays (35).
Let’s also make sure to give major props to the defense, too, as they completely shut down one of the league’s best offenses. The Bills only had seven points through nearly three quarters, and Indy’s pass rush — yet again — made multiple key plays, including the strip-sack by rookie Kwity Paye and the interceptions by George Odum and Kenny Moore.
Furthermore, Indy’s secondary was also excellent. Both Rock Ya-Sin and Isaiah Rodgers were, once again, outstanding in coverage. Not a single Bills’ receiver reached the 100-yard mark, which is a testament not only to the play of both corners but the play of safety George Odum, who picked off Josh Allen early on in the 1st quarter and stalled Buffalo’s first possession.
Sunday’s performance did more than just prove that the Colts could beat a playoff team; it put the rest of the NFL on notice.
Behind the NFL’s best rushing attack, a vastly-improved defense and an offense that has proven it can beat defenses in a multitude of ways, the Colts are becoming the team no one wants to play.