Indianapolis Colts Unleash Jonathan Taylor, Defeat New England Patriots, 27-17

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Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots met with the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15, bringing along some fanfare as the second-best team in the AFC. Acknowledging the challenge of stopping a Patriots team in their stride was Frank Reich, the Colts and running back Jonathan Taylor — defeating the Pats, 27-17, on Saturday night.

Indy’s performance could be summarized in their early and late-game success. A 20-0 start kept the team head and shoulders above the Patriots when the special teams unit and Colts offense made plays.

The early game success came from Jonathan Taylor and the Colts backfield marching down the field for a score in the first quarter; capped by an eight-yard touchdown from Nyheim Hines, 7-0. 

With 14 seconds left in the first quarter, the Patriots went for a punt only to have it blocked by Colts linebacker EJ Speed, landing in the end zone and recovered for six points. And the extra point to put the Colts up, 14-0.

New England’s defense managed to keep the team afloat by holding the Colts to six points between the second and third — waiting on the Pats’ offense to appear.

The Pats offense was off until the fourth, where they scored 17 unanswered points.

Jones had a throw go askew in a confusing flea-flicker progression that ended as an incompletion to Meyers. N’Keal Harry, meanwhile, ran himself open in the end zone but was missed by Jones. As the telecast noted, the potential 30-yarder left on the field had the potential to be costly for the Patriots. And it did cost them.

Mac Jones ended the night with 299 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions — also completing only 26 of 45 passes.

Indianapolis’ defense brought the pressure on Jones and saw great performances on behalf of the staples: DeForest Buckner and Darius Leonard. Defensive back Kenny Moore and linebacker Bobby Okereke also stepped up for the defense, the latter earning one of the interceptions off Jones. Leonard snagged the other.

The game felt tight once the Pats pushed the score to 20-17, but Jonathan Taylor got the ball back with two minutes left and made good use of a chance to put the game away. On what would become the Colts’ final drive, Taylor ran 67 yards for the game-sealing score, 27-17.

Taylor’s last appearance playing for a primetime broadcast came in Week 9 against the Jets, running for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Tonight, the sophomore ran for 170 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Taylor reached 19 total touchdowns on the year after breaking off for the rushing touchdown.

Carson Wentz threw the ball 12 times for five completions and 57 passing yards — taking the night off with a quasi-reliable game manager’s assignment. He also threw an interception to start the fourth when Pats linebacker Jamie Collins tipped a pass into the arms of Devin McCourty.

Sharing the yoke of defeat, alongside the errant flea-flicker, were the Patriots’ drops. Their receiving corps in Meyers, Harry (injured late in the fourth) and Kendrick Bourne left some yards on the field that could have spared the offense some hurry-up plays with minutes left in the contest.

The Colts complete the upset, alerting the rest of the AFC that a Wild Card team may be the most challenging matchup waiting in the postseason. New England remains atop the AFC East at 9-5.

Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela

Written by Alejandro Avila

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