The Indianapolis Colts picked up a monumental victory over the New England Patriots in Week 15. The win ended New England’s seven-game winning streak and pushed Indianapolis one step closer to the playoffs. Running back Jonathan Taylor paced the Colts on offense and sealed the deal late. Linebacker Darius Leonard thinks the MVP debate is officially over.
Darius Leonard believes Jonathan Taylor is the NFL’s MVP
The Indianapolis Colts have experienced an up and down 2021 NFL season, but they continue to trend in the right direction late in the season.
The biggest reasons for Indianapolis’ recent success have been a good defense and a dominant run game led by Jonathan Taylor.
All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard has witnessed firsthand how good Taylor has been throughout the season. Leonard sang the second-year running back’s praises after the win over the Patriots.
After the game, reporters asked the fourth-year linebacker if he thought Taylor was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player at this point in the season. According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Leonard’s answer was resounding.
“Of course,” said Leonard. “There is absolutely no question. What he is doing now in this NFL, there’s absolutely no question that he is the MVP.”
Jonathan Taylor is building a solid MVP case through the first 15 weeks. The Wisconsin product leads the league in rushing yards (1,518) and rushing touchdowns (17).
The Colts RB enjoyed a shining moment against the Patriots
Week after week, Indianapolis Colts star running back Jonathan Taylor improves his stock in the MVP race. The Week 15 victory over the New England Patriots was no different.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a signature moment in the fourth quarter against New England. The game clock approached the two-minute warning, with Frank Reich’s squad leading 20-17.
Carson Wentz handed the ball to Taylor, who made one cut and burst up the gut. The second-year tailback knifed through the teeth of the Patriots’ defense, gashing it for a game-clinching 67-yard touchdown scamper.
The New Jersey native finished the game with 170 rushing yards and the touchdown on 29 carries.
Taylor’s standout performance against New England was so impressive because Bill Belichick knew what was coming. The Colts lean heavily on their star running back as a recipe for success. Belichick is an elite game planner, but Taylor showed everyone that he’s matchup proof.
Moving the ball effectively against the Patriots is no easy feat. New England entered the game with the NFL’s top-ranked defense.
Jonathan Taylor wore the defense down over the course of the game and delivered the knockout blow late in the fourth quarter.
Leonard and Taylor are leading Indianapolis to a possible playoff berth
With the convincing victory over the New England Patriots, the Indianapolis Colts improved to 8-6 on the 2021 season.
Frank Reich and company are two games behind the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South but currently hold the 5-seed in the AFC playoff picture.
With just three games left in the regular season, Indianapolis is hitting its stride at the perfect time.
The defense has played well as of late. Defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus’ unit was lights out against the Patriots in Week 15. Darius Leonard led the charge with 10 tackles and an interception.
The Colts know their identity, which makes them a team no one wants to play down the stretch and in the postseason. They play solid and opportunistic defense and run the ball effectively. Leonard, Jonathan Taylor, and the crew make life difficult for their opponents.
The Colts are on a bit of a streak right now, winning five of their last six games. If Indianapolis keeps the momentum going, it will secure a spot in the AFC playoffs.
Given the impressive turnaround in Indy, Jonathan Taylor must be a strong consideration for MVP honors.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference