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Colts’ Jonathan Taylor fails on opportunity in fourth-and-1 after rushing for 188 yards against Texans

During the previous offseason, as the market for running backs continued to decline, Taylor looked for a new contract rather than playing out the final year of his rookie deal. On July 29, he requested a trade when it seemed the team wouldn’t budge, took multiple excused absences from camp, and was eventually granted permission to seek a trade on Aug. 21.

However, when no trade materialized, he began the season on the physically unable to perform list due to offseason ankle surgery. He didn’t return until Oct. 7 when the parties finally agreed on a three-year, $42 million extension.

Upon his return, Taylor had moments of strong performance, but he didn’t display the dominant form he had during his All-Pro season in 2021.

That changed on Saturday night against the Texans.

The 24-year-old exploited the NFL’s third-ranked rushing defense with repeated ease.

He carried the ball more times than either Minshew or the Texans’ C.J. Stroud threw, turning 30 carries into 188 rushing yards — exceeding Houston’s previous high allowed by any team in a game this season.

Taylor gained 49 of those yards on a run where he fought through a cluster of arms at the line of scrimmage and maneuvered outside for Indianapolis’ first touchdown of the game.

It wasn’t just Taylor’s performance that seemed like something from a movie.

He also sustained an ankle injury at the end of the third quarter and was unlikely to return for half of the fourth, before Indianapolis found itself in dire need of its MVP.

The Texans had just taken a 23-17 lead, but having missed the extra point, left an opening with 6:20 remaining.

Taylor seized the opportunity, carrying the ball nine times as the offense ate up five minutes during a drive to Houston’s 15-yard line.

Facing a fourth-and-1, Steichen called a timeout to consider the options.

He then decided to keep Taylor on the sideline as Minshew threw a pass behind Goodson, who had only played five offensive snaps and couldn’t make the catch for his first reception of the night.

“I’m equally responsible for that not working as he is,” Minshew told reporters after Goodson took responsibility for the play. “We all have plays that we wish we could do over, because the last one doesn’t make it any more significant. I assured him that I’d make the same decision every time. I’d throw that ball every time.”

The Texans controlled the ball for the rest of the game, needing only to stop the Colts on a kickoff return following an intentional safety to secure the victory.

Afterward, Taylor took a team-oriented view of the loss.

“It came down to a couple of plays,” he said. “That’s playoff football. When it’s crunch time, you have to deliver on those plays. We have to deliver on those plays. We have to. That’s playoff football. Playoff football is about the teams that make the most plays. We didn’t make enough.”

There’s likely more than one play the Colts wish they could do over.

But none is more significant than Indy’s final offensive snap, especially considering Taylor’s outstanding performance throughout the game.

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