INDIANAPOLIS – The previous record-holder was quick to congratulate his successor.
Midway through the third quarter Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium, Jonathan Taylor slashed through the Las Vegas Raiders defense for a 9-yard run. Just like that, he eclipsed Edgerrin James’ single-season rushing record (1,709 yards in 2000). The Indianapolis Colts’ latest relentless running back finished with 108 yards on 20 carries, pushing his season output to a league-best 1,734.
No sooner had Taylor passed James, than James offered a message of congratulations on the stadium’s video board.
“Hey, what’s up JT? This is Edge,’’ James said. “Congratulations on breaking the single-season, all-time rushing record. You know, it’s been a great season for you. Keep it up, go on and take this team to the next level. Continue to do what we do.
“We take pride in being running backs, joining the likes of myself, Marshall (Faulk), you’ve got Lenny Moore, Eric Dickerson. It’s the home of Hall of Famers. Running backs, man, we always represent. We carry the team and we do our job, man. Keep it up, man. I’m proud of you and wish you much more success moving forward.’’
Taylor insisted it was “really nice” and was surprised by the JumboTron tribute, but admitted the circumstances were hardly ideal. The 23-20 loss to the Raiders kept the Colts from clinching a playoff berth.
“It would’ve been more special if we would have been able to solidify that opportunity,’’ he said.
Taylor also increased his club record with an 18th rushing touchdown – a 1-yarder at the end of the first half – and tied Moore’s team record with his 20th TD overall.
According to NFL Research, the 22-year old Taylor became the youngest player in league history with at least 2,000 total yards from scrimmage (a league-best 2,076) and 20-plus touchdowns.
Also, Taylor’s 10th 100-yard game tied James’ team record.
“Yeah, JT is a stud,’’ quarterback Carson Wentz said. “We are going to keep giving it to him and keep going to him.’’
No practice, no excuse
Wentz suffered through an erratic game: 16-of-27, 148 yards and one touchdown.
It came after he missed the entire week of practice. Wentz was placed on the COVID-19 list Tuesday, activated Saturday and finally cleared to play Sunday morning.
“Definitely one of the weirdest weeks of my NFL career, if not the weirdest’’ he said. “I felt pretty good and was locked in on the virtual meetings, but couldn’t be around the guys, obviously.
“It was different, but I wouldn’t say that was the reason for the performance or for the loss today by any means. I felt fine out there and felt good last week.’’
Coach Frank Reich agreed.
“Obviously it’s always great to get every rep you can, but at this time of the year, you lean on accumulated reps when you have to,’’ he said. “It happens all over the league at all positions. Those players, whoever they are, have to find a way to come in and still play well.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.