Colts running back Jonathan Taylor has propelled himself into the MVP conversation with a terrific second season.
He’s rushed for at least 140 yards five times this season, including in each of the last two weeks. While Taylor actually doesn’t lead the league in touches — he trails Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris 311-306 — he is No. 1 with 1,854 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns. If the season ended after Week 15, he’d also earn the rushing triple crown with 270 carries for 1,518 yards and 17 TDs.
The Colts have particularly leaned on Taylor in their last three victories. He had 32 carries in the Week 11 win over Buffalo, 32 in the Week 13 victory over Houston, and 29 when Indianapolis defeated New England.
As the team makes a playoff push, head coach Frank Reich told reporters in his Tuesday press conference that he doesn’t have “any concern” over Taylor’s workload.
“We’re constantly talking to him, gauging where he’s at,” Reich said. “The ebb and flow of the season I think takes care of it a little bit. Obviously, we’re going to continue to feed him the ball, but it’s not always going to be like it has been the last couple of weeks. There are going to be games where we throw it a little bit more, or give it to Nyheim [Hines] a little bit or Deon [Jackson] or whatever the case may be.
“But at the same time, right now — even when we were running back by committee before he was here, we kind of go with the hot hand. It’s hard to argue with the production. Physically, he’s such a specimen, he takes great care of himself. At this point, he’s showing no wear and tear.”
Part of that likely has to do with Taylor being so young. He’s only in his second year out of Wisconsin. But Taylor also had a heavy workload for the Badgers, as he averaged 322 touches per season in his three years with the program.
The Colts will surely continue to lean on Taylor, as that formula has led to their success. But if Taylor’s availability were in question, Indianapolis has kept former 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack on ice for much of the season. That’s a key insurance policy to have for a position that takes so many hits over the course of the year.