INDIANAPOLIS – The NFL today announced that Indianapolis Colts defensive tackle DeForest Buckner has been named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for December and running back Jonathan Taylor has been named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month for December. It marks the first time Buckner and Taylor have earned their respective Player of the Month honors.
From Weeks 13-17, Buckner compiled 18 tackles (14 solo), 6.0 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, two passes defensed and one forced fumble. He helped guide the Colts to a 4-1 record, including a playoff berth. Buckner recorded three games with at least 2.0 sacks. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 15 after totaling four tackles (three solo), 2.0 tackles for loss, a career-high 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble against Houston. Buckner was one of just four players in the NFL this season to register at least four tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks and one forced fumble in a single game. His 3.0 sacks tied for the third-most by any player in a single game in 2020.
In 2020, Buckner played in 15 games (14 starts) and compiled 58 tackles (37 solo), 10.0 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks, three passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. Among NFL defensive tackles, he ranked in the top-five in tackles (fourth), solo tackles (tied-second), tackles for loss (tied-third), sacks (second) and forced fumbles (tied-third). Buckner was part of a Colts defense that ranked eighth in the NFL in yards per game (332.1 avg.), second in rushing yards per game (90.5 avg.) and tied for 10th in points per game (22.6 avg.) this season. In 2020, Indianapolis tied for fifth in the league in takeaways (25).
Taylor totaled 97 carries for 651 yards (6.7 avg.) and seven touchdowns from Weeks 13-17. He also caught 10 passes for 72 yards and one touchdown. Taylor had one 250-yard rushing performance, one 150-yard rushing game and three games with multiple touchdowns over the final five weeks of the regular season. In Week 17 vs. Jacksonville, he tallied 30 carries for a franchise-record 253 yards and two touchdowns. Taylor also caught one pass for one yard. He became just the second player in franchise history to eclipse 200 rushing yards in a single game. Among rookies in NFL history, Taylor's 253 yards tied for the second-most in a single game. The rushing performance tied for the ninth-best in NFL history.
In 2020, Taylor totaled 232 carries for 1,169 yards (5.0 avg.) and 11 touchdowns. He also registered 36 receptions for 299 yards and one touchdown. Taylor finished third in the NFL in rushing yards and sixth in scrimmage yards, while leading all rookies in each category. He tied for seventh in rushing touchdowns and tied for ninth in scrimmage touchdowns among all players. Among Colts rookies in franchise history, Taylor finished in the top-three in rushing yards (third), scrimmage yards (third), rushing touchdowns (tied-second) and total touchdowns (tied-third). Among players with at least 30 receptions this season, his 92.3 catch percentage was the best in the NFL.
Buckner is the first Indianapolis player to earn AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors since linebacker Darius Leonard earned the distinction in 2018 for the month of December. Taylor is the first Colts player to be named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month since guard/center Quenton Nelson earned the award in October of the 2018 season.