Jonathan Taylor dashed to his left through a gaping hole opened up by the his offensive line, picked up a physical block by wide receiver Zach Pascal, stiff-armed Houston Texans safety Justin Reid and accelerated for the longest run in Colts history.
Taylor's 83-yard run in the Colts' 31-3 win over the Houston Texans Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium followed his 76-yard touchdown on a screen against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 5. He's now only the fifth player since the start of the 2018 season to have multiple plays of 76+ yards in a season, joining Raheem Mostert (2020), Damien Williams (2019), Christian McCaffrey (2019) and George Kittle (2018).
And that 83-yard run currently stands as the longest rushing play of the 2021 season.
When coach Frank Reich called that run on Sunday and that screen against the Ravens, those plays were designed to be explosive — but 76 and 83 yards require a different few players possess. And Taylor has it.
"That's what playmakers do," Reich said. "We all know that's what Jonathan is capable of. Obviously, the O-line got that play started really in both instances and then receivers got to make plays down field. We talk about that a lot, we work hard at it. But at the end of the day, you've got to have a guy who can take it to the house and he's one of those guys."
Taylor was quick to credit his line and Pascal for his 83-yard play (and it's no surprise Pascal delivered a key block a week after fellow physical wideouts Ashton Dulin and Michael Pittman Jr. paved the way for his 76-yard touchdown). But Taylor's vision, speed and strength have helped him put together a massive three-game stretch in which he has 52 touches for 441 yards — good for 8.5 yards per touch.
And Taylor did most of his damage against the Texans in the second half, when the Colts were pushing to close out a game in dominant fashion. Taylor entered halftime with six yards on two carries and one catch for 13 yards; he finished with 145 yards on 14 carries.
But even though he didn't get the ball much in the first half, Taylor still set out to make an impact –knowing full well his time would come as the afternoon went on.
"One of the biggest things was pass protection," Taylor said. "We were calling a lot of shots so in my mind was, hey, I need to make sure I keep QB1 safe and clean because I know the shots we're calling right now, we got the playmakers to make them downfield.
"But to continue to stay focused, I knew in the second half we're going to get the run game going and that I would need to be mentally ready, physically ready to have my number called and be able to execute when I did have my number called."