There was no biggest winner than Jonathan Taylor on Sunday, and he was not even present at the stadium for the game. The backup running backs did not have a good game, and rookie Evan Hull suffered a knee injury that will sideline him for the near future, Jake Funk showed some glimpses but had just 3 touches, and more on Deon Jackson later. It’s an obvious thing to say but this offense would have looked a lot different with Taylor in it, and it certainly would have been better than 16 carries for 25 yards.
Michael Pittman Jr.
Any doubts on whether the Colts #1 receiver would be Anthony Richardson’s favourite target were quickly dissipated on Sunday, as MPJ got a team high 11 targets, reeling in 8 of those for over 100 yards and a touchdown. While the average depth of target was not high, as Richardson is still clearly being eased into the NFL by Steichen, Pittman did the most with every single catch he got.
100% of the snaps played, 18 tackles, and a pass deflection, perfect season debut for the new Colts’ starting linebacker. There were some doubts after Bobby Okereke was allowed to leave for the Giants in free-agency, but they were quickly put to bed after such a monstruous performance from Franklin, who will form an amazing duo with Shaq Leonard.
Julian Blackmon / Rodney Thomas
The Colts used just Blackmon and Thomas in the backfield on Sunday, as the duo played the entire game, not missing a single snap. Blackmon was the more impressive of the pair, recording 5 tackles and looking much better in run support, while Thomas struggled a little bit and seemed a bit soft on a couple of tackles. Still, if this trend continues they will have plenty of time to fix their issues.
Just a single snap (no targets), compared to Josh Downs’ 57 snaps played and seven targets. McKenzie was among the biggest losers on Sunday. The veteran even sent a cryptic tweet about lack of trust before the game, and who knows who that was aimed at. With Steichen seemingly prefering using a short lineup during games, McKenzie will probably not get much playing time unless an injury happens.
Just a terrible game all around from Jackson, who last season showed he can play much better than this. Two fumbles lost, 18 touches for 28 yards (1.55 yards per touch), and just seemed slow throughout the game. With Evan Hull scheduled to miss some time, the Colts desperately need either Zack Moss back from injury or a veteran running back like Leonard Fournette.
Another victim of Steichen’s shortened lineup, the second-year safety did not play a single snap on defense against the Jaguars. Cross is still young, but the Colts were really high on him when they drafted him, so it is not a good sign watching all the snaps go to Rodney Thomas.