Heading into Sunday's Week 17 matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders, Jonathan Taylor had one more box to check in order to lay claim to perhaps the greatest season by a running back in Indianapolis Colts franchise history.
Having already broken the franchise's single-season record for rushing touchdowns in recent weeks, Taylor headed into Sunday's action needing 84 yards on the ground over the final two games in order to surpass Hall of Famers Eric Dickerson and Edgerrin James for the Colts' single-season record in rushing yards, too.
For his part, Taylor decided not to let this thing drag out into the final week of the regular season.
Taylor didn't waste much time at all on Sunday getting the 34 yards needed to move past Dickerson (1,659 rushing yards, 1988) into second place on the team's single-season rushing yards list. And, finally, with a nine-yard run midway through the third quarter, Taylor moved past James and his 1,709-yard rushing performance in 2000 to sit alone as the Colts' single-season rushing yards king.
Taylor, who finished Sunday's loss to the Raiders with 20 rushing attempts for 108 yards (5.4 average) and a touchdown, now has an NFL-best 1,734 rushing yards on the season heading into next Sunday's regular season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Ever the team-first guy, Taylor acknowledged that becoming the Colts' single-season record holder in rushing yards was "special," but he would've rather have added a win on Sunday, which would've clinched his team a spot in the postseason. Now, the team must win at Jacksonville to ensure it meets that same fate.
"It would've been more special if we would have been able to solidify that opportunity," Taylor said of getting the record on Sunday.
Still, Taylor was able to take a moment during Sunday's game to soak in his latest accomplishment. During a time out in the action after Taylor's record-breaking run, the Colts played a congratulatory video message from James on the Lucas Oil Stadium video boards.
"Hey, what's up JT? This the Edge. Congratulations on breaking the single-season, all-time rushing record," James said in his message to Taylor. "You know, it's been a great season for you. Keep it up, go on and take this team to the next level — continue to do what we do. We take pride in being running backs, joining the likes of myself, Marshall (Faulk), you've got Lenny Moore, Eric Dickerson — it's the home of the Hall of Famers. Running backs, man, we always represent, we carry the team and we do our job, man. Keep it up, man. I'm proud of you, and wish you much more success going forward."
Immediately after seeing James' message, Taylor was seen mouthing on the sidelines to a teammate, "That's what's up."
"Yeah, that was really nice," Taylor said of James' gesture. "I wasn't expecting that to come over the jumbotron during the game. I thought that was really nice."
Taylor next week has the opportunity to stake his claim to one more major team offensive record. His one-yard rushing touchdown on Sunday against the Raiders tied him with another Hall of Famer, Lenny Moore, for the most total touchdowns in a single season in team history, with 20.
In all, Taylor this season has 317 carries for 1,734 yards (5.5 average) with 18 rushing touchdowns, as well as 37 receptions for 342 yards and another two scores through the air. On Sunday, he became the fourth player in team history to register 2,000 scrimmage yards in a single season, and, per NFL Research, Taylor also became the youngest player in NFL history with 2,000-plus scrimmage yards and 20-plus touchdowns in a single season.
Other eye-catching marks for Taylor on Sunday: he tied James (1999) for the most 100-yard rushing games (10) in a single season in Colts history, and he tied Earl Campbell (1979), Terrell Davis (1998), Larry Johnson (2005) and LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) for the fourth-most games (nine) with 100-plus rushing yards and at least one rushing touchdown in a single season in NFL history.
"JT is a stud," Colts quarterback Carson Wentz said of Taylor after Sunday's game. "We are going to keep giving it to him and keep going to him."