Jonathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts had a messy 2023 offseason, resulting in the team allowing the All-Pro running back to seek a trade. They placed him on the physically unable to perform list when it didn't materialize. Luckily, the story ended happily when both parties agreed to a three-year, $42 million contract extension.
While the 2021 NFL rushing yards leader to the deal he wanted, he’s not resting on his laurels. Instead, he’s playing to regain the starting running back role that Zack Moss impressively filled earlier in the season. The former Wisconsin standout is trending up, as proven by his two touchdowns in the last three weeks.
Though they lost a 39-38 shootout against the Cleveland Browns, Taylor finished the game with 18 carries for 75 yards and a touchdown while adding three catches for 45 yards. A week later, he punished the New Orleans Saints with 95 rushing yards on 12 carries.
The Colts finally returned to the winning track in Week 9, defeating the Carolina Panthers. While Taylor only had 47 rushing yards, he had five catches for 22 yards and a touchdown. Conversely, Moss had seven carries for 26 yards against Carolina.
Taylor’s snap rate has also increased to 74 percent in Week 9, proving that he’s feeling better after being sidelined by a high ankle sprain since Week 15 last season. But if he can stay healthy, the best is yet to come for him.
The Colts will face the Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Las Vegas Raiders in Weeks 14, 15, and 17. Those three teams are in the bottom six regarding rushing yards allowed through Week 9. They also have a date with the Tennessee Titans, ranked 19th in run defense, allowing 114.8 points per game.
These scenarios put Jonathan Taylor in a position to potentially finish the 2023 NFL season strongly. While a playoff berth isn’t guaranteed, getting an individual award is a nice consolation.