Jonathan Taylor Leads Colts to Saturday Night Football Win over Mac Jones, Patriots

Adam WellsDecember 19, 2021

Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) runs with the ball as New England Patriots safety Adrian Phillips (21) defends during the first half of an NFL football game Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
AP Photo/Aaron Doster

The Indianapolis Colts significantly boosted their playoff chances with a 27-17 victory over the New England Patriots at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night. 

Entering today as the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoff standings, the Colts could end the weekend in the fourth spot if the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. 

The Patriots lost a game for the first time since Week 6 against the Dallas Cowboys. They are also now looking up at the Kansas City Chiefs for the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the AFC playoff race. 

Jonathan Taylor sealed the Colts' victory with a 67-yard touchdown run that put the Colts up by 10 late in the fourth quarter. 


JONATHAN TAYLOR. 67 YARDS. GOOD NIGHT.<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsIND?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NEvsIND</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5">https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5</a> <a href="https://t.co/V0jzema8xz">pic.twitter.com/V0jzema8xz</a>

Prior to that score, the Patriots had rattled off 17 unanswered points to turn what looked like a blowout into a three-point game. 

New England's run defense got beat up in this loss. That unit allowed 228 yards and 5.8 yards per carry. Carson Wentz only threw the ball 12 times, completing five of those attempts for just 57 yards. 

Mac Jones overcame two interceptions on consecutive possessions to finish with a solid stat line overall. The rookie had 299 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. 

Notable Game Stats

  • Carson Wentz, QB (IND): 5-of-12, 57 yards, TD, INT
  • Jonathan Taylor, RB (IND): 29 carries, 170 yards, TD
  • Nyheim Hines, RB (IND): 1 reception, 8 yards, TD
  • Mac Jones, QB (NE): 26-of-45, 299 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
  • Rhamondre Stevenson, RB (NE): 10 carries, 36 yards; 1 reception, 4 yards
  • Hunter Henry, TE (NE): 6 receptions, 77 yards, 2 TD

Colts Show Playoff Credentials in Win

There's still no guarantee that the Colts will even make the playoffs, but Saturday's win was the biggest sign that they can cause a lot of problems against anyone in the AFC. 

Against a Patriots defense that held four of their last five opponents under 100 yards rushing, Indianapolis had 122 yards on the ground in the first half. 

New England's defense seemed to find a way to slow down Taylor for most of the second half. He only had 30 yards on 10 carries before ripping off the 67-yard touchdown to secure the win.

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

An MVP-style run from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Colts?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Colts</a> RB Jonathan Taylor.

Zak Keefer @zkeefer

Jonathan Taylor 67 yards to the house, vs. a stacked box, in a three-point game the Colts have to have, against a team they haven't beat in 12 years.<br><br>Colts 27, Patriots 17 with 2:01 left.

Head coach Frank Reich made a point of establishing Taylor and the running game right out of the gate. The Colts star running back had 18 carries at halftime, while Wentz only attempted six passes.

Reich, one of the architects of the "Philly Special" against the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, went into his bag of tricks once again in a matchup with Bill Belichick to get the Colts their first touchdown. 


Jonathan Taylor lead blocking for <a href="https://twitter.com/TheNyNy7?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheNyNy7</a> 💪 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsIND?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NEvsIND</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5">https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5</a> <a href="https://t.co/4xgNOmamJ0">pic.twitter.com/4xgNOmamJ0</a>

The Colts kept their foot on the gas pedal after that initial touchdown. Special teams stepped up huge when Matthew Adams blew past the protection to block Jake Bailey's punt, allowing E.J. Speed to recover it in the end zone for another score. 


COLTS BLOCK THE PUNT FOR SIX!<a href="https://twitter.com/EJ_SPEED?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EJ_SPEED</a>’s second block return TD of the season 🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForTheShoe?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ForTheShoe</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsIND?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NEvsIND</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a><br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5">https://t.co/DL75sQUMR5</a> <a href="https://t.co/22knpyWQNW">pic.twitter.com/22knpyWQNW</a>

One reason that Reich was able to keep Wentz hidden for most of the game is because his defense did a fantastic job against New England's offense. 

The Patriots were driving down the field, looking to get a score before halftime, but it was halted when Darius Leonard picked off Jones at the 6-yard line. 

Indianapolis Colts @Colts

THE MANIAC STIFF ARM. 😱<br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFLNetwork</a> <a href="https://t.co/bTlR4x2C7J">pic.twitter.com/bTlR4x2C7J</a>

Steve Palazzolo @PFF_Steve

Darius Leonard always seems to know what is coming when the QB is making checks at the line<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NEvsIND?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NEvsIND</a>

Zak Keefer @zkeefer

11 takeaways this season for Darius Leonard alone, and 30 now for the Colts as a unit.

Leonard's interception allowed the Colts to take a 17-0 lead into halftime. This hadn't historically been a position they are used to being in against a Belichick-led team. 

Mike Wells @MikeWellsNFL

This is 23rd Colts-Patriots meeting since Bill Belichick became head coach, and this is only the 2nd time Indy has led by more than 10 points, according to <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>. In 2005 Week 9 the Colts largest lead was 21 points, they won by 19.

Indianapolis extended its lead to 20 points early in the third quarter when Jones threw his second interception of the game, this one to Bobby Okereke. 

Reich did abandon the run on the drive after the turnover. Wentz dropped back to pass on all three snaps, completing one pass for no gain and getting sacked on third down for an eight-yard loss. 

There were some plays when Wentz got let down by his teammates. He threw a perfect pass in the back of the end zone over a defender where only Mo Alie-Cox could get it, but the big tight end couldn't corral the ball.

However, Wentz also attempted to let the Patriots back in the game with some baffling decisions. He double-clutched on a pass attempt early in the fourth quarter that allowed Jamie Collins to tip the ball up and into the hands of Devin McCourty. 

New England Patriots @Patriots

Teaming up for the takeaway! <br><br>Jamie Collins x <a href="https://twitter.com/McCourtyTwins?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@mccourtytwins</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/nflnetwork?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nflnetwork</a> / Patriots app <a href="https://t.co/KBxIEQGnhE">pic.twitter.com/KBxIEQGnhE</a>

Robert Mays @robertmays

That Wentz decision was unfathomably bad. Not even one of those, "Just didn't see him" picks. He saw *multiple* guys and still let it rip. If Collins doesn't tip that, McCourty still had a shot at it.

It's certainly easy to find some things that might hold the Colts back, but this game was also emblematic of all the things they do so well that makes them a threat to anyone in the AFC. 

Indianapolis' offensive line is getting healthier and playing up to its potential. Taylor has been running over defenders all season. The defense came into the game ranked ninth in points allowed per game (21.8). 

Leonard and DeForest Buckner are game wreckers along the first two levels of the defense when they are locked in. 

The AFC playoff picture really hasn't come into a lot of focus yet. The Kansas City Chiefs certainly look like they are all the way back, but the other division leaders—Patriots, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens—all look incredibly flawed right now. 

The Los Angeles Chargers have an incredibly high ceiling because of Justin Herbert, but they've yet to find consistency from week to week. Ditto, the Buffalo Bills with Josh Allen. 

There is no reason to think that the Colts can't compete with any one of those teams after dominating the Patriots.

What's Next?

The Patriots will host the Buffalo Bills on Dec. 26 in a rematch of their Week 13 game that New England won 14-10. The Colts will take on the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Christmas Day. 

This article will be updated to provide more information on this story as it becomes available.

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