Not only did Jonathan Taylor have his MVP moment on his 67-yard touchdown run to send the Patriots back to Foxborough with a big L, but Taylor was also his usual self in turning what looks like 2-3 yards into 7+. That is probably Taylor’s biggest contribution for this team, as seemingly every single run puts the Colts in a better position. JT finished the game with 170 yards and a touchdown, cementing his status as the OPOY and heavily inserting himself in the MVP conversation.
The Maniac now looks fully recovered from the ankle injury that limited him earlier this season, and it is showing. 10 tackles, an interception, and a forced fumble in the biggest game of the season, so far. The thing that encouraged me the most about Darius is that, on the interception, it seemed like earlier this year those passes were usually completions, but now that he has that explosiveness back he was able to make the play on the ball and come up with the redzone interception.
During the first 10 weeks of the season, Rhodes missed 3 games with an injury. When he managed to be on the field he was a massive liability, allowing 26 receptions on 37 targets, while commiting 3 penalties. Since then, Rhodes has allowed just 11 receptions on 21 targets over the past 4 matchups, and it looks like he finally found his form again, which is great news for the secondary.
While Pinter was not particularly good in pass protection, allowing 3 pressures, he was solid and did not screw up a single exchange with Wentz. Filling in on short notice, Pinter more than held his own against a vaunted Patriots’ front.
Buckner was by far the Colts most productive defensive lineman this past week, as he racked up 3 total pressures, while also being fairly productive in the run game. I would argue that Buckner is even more important for this defense than Darius Leonard, as the impact he makes up front each game is incredible.
If you take away the little toss to Hines that counted as a pass and resulted in a touchdown, Wentz finished the game passing for 49 yards and an interception on 11 attempts... and what worries the most is at what time and in what context the interception came. The Colts clearly don’t need Wentz to win them games. They just need him to not screw up big time, and against the Pats he did just that.
Badgley had already missed a field goal attempt, but was bailed out by an offsides call against the Patriots, before missing a 49-yard attempt that would have put the Colts up 23-0 with a little over 4 minutes remaining in the third.
While he was not particularly horrible against the Pats, Fisher was once again clearly the weakest link on the Colts’ offensive line, and keep in mind that Danny Pinter was playing. Just not a great year for Fisher, who will need to take a big step forward entering the key final stretch of the year.