The Indianapolis Colts secured a Wild Card playoff berth with a 4-1 finish to the season, thanks in large part to the efforts of their running back room. Rookie Jonathan Taylor put on a show that won him the NFL’s Rookie of the Month for December, averaging 19 carries for 130 yards (6.7 yards per attempt) and 1.4 touchdowns (as well as two catches for 14 yards) in those five games. Meanwhile, change-of-pace back Nyheim Hines had an average of 5.6 carries for 34 yards and 3.8 catches for 24 yards in that time.
The biggest concern for the Buffalo Bills’ defense going into their Wild Card matchup? Whether they could hold off the big play potential of this running back room, with a defense that struggled against the run earlier in the season.
Following a 27-24 win, the Bills can call that mission accomplished. Taylor was the feature back yet again, taking the ball for 21 carries, but only managed 78 yards and a touchdown—an efficiency of just 3.7 yards per carry. He only caught two passes for six yards. Meanwhile, Hines had two electric runs and finished with six carries for 75 yards, but his usual passing game damage was erased. He only caught one pass for eight yards.
Instead the Colts were forced to rely on Philip Rivers, whose arm strength isn’t where it used to be. The QB attempted 46 passes but only completed 27 of them—that’s 58.7 percent. He did throw two touchdowns, but he only had 6.7 yards per attempt, and came up short when the Colts needed him most on the final drive of the game.