INDIANAPOLIS – It was a failure, an epic breakdown of the Texans run defense.
Jonathan Taylor capitalized on a hole large enough to literally drive a truck through in the Houston Texans defense. The Indianapolis Colts star running back burst through the line of scrimmage at nearing top speed and accelerated away from pursuit.
It was a perfectly blocked and perfectly executed running play during the third quarter of the Texans’ 31-3 road loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. On the 83-yard run by Taylor, defensive end Whitney Mercilus, linebackers Kamu Grugier-Hill and Christian Kirksey and cornerback Desmond King all got blocked.
And Taylor stiff-armed safety Justin Reid before cornerback Terrance Mitchell finally brought him down at the Houston 5-yard line. Three plays later, Taylor's touchdown run boosted the Colts’ lead to a commanding 24-3.
“Some missed tackles happened,” Texans coach David Culley said. “Right as he came out there were some missed tackles. It should've never got to that point. It was going to be a good run, but not that long. He’s obviously a pretty good player.
"They depend on him. A lot of those plays, that I think we gave up from a big-play standpoint, were simply because we weren't reading our keys. We weren't where we needed to be on those particular plays. When you do that, with a good running back, big plays happen.”
Taylor capitalized on the Texans’ inability to escape blocks. It was the perfect storm.
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“Just ... big gap, they just had a perfect call against our call really,” Grugier-Hill said. “That sort of is what it came down to.
“I mean he is an elite player. He has got elite speed and we have to do a better job executing. Managing that big run, I think if you take that away, we would’ve been all right.”
Taylor rushed for just six yards on two carries at halftime as the Texans trailed 10-3.
The former Wisconsin star finished the game with 145 rushing yards and two touchdown runs on just 14 carries, averaging 10.4 yards per run.
“I keep saying it every week, we have to finish,” Texans defensive end Jon Greenard said. “We knew what type of back he was and we know that he’s a hard runner. He’s got good speed, good size. Especially in games like that when they’re trying to put it away and give him the ball, we have to know that we have to play better.”
Taylor’s run is the longest in the history of the Colts franchise. It marked the longest run in the NFL this season. It's also another example of the "undisciplined'' Texans.
“It really kind of stuns or shocks a defense, and then it’s up to that defense how are they going to respond,” Taylor said. “Are they going to continue to be stunned, shocked, rattled or are they going to be able to find a way to settle back in? That’s when you want to continue to keep your foot on their neck. After a big play like that, continue to keep your foot on the gas to not allow them to get a chance to settle back in.”