Could Jordan Wilkins steal the starting job from Jonathan Taylor?
After his dominant performance vs Detroit on Sunday, the Colts might need to give Jordan Wilkins more touches.
Given the inconsistency of the Indianapolis Colts’ last two performances, fans were fully justified in feeling nervous heading into Sunday’s matchup against Detroit. In a much-needed sign of improvement, however, head coach Frank Reich’s side silenced their critics with an immaculate performance, defeating the Lions by a final score of 41-21.
As far as big takeaways are concerned, Philip Rivers balled out and committed zero turnovers for the second consecutive contest, which really makes you wonder why he can’t do that every game, but we digress.
Elsewhere, the defense — though it allowed Matthew Stafford to look unstoppable at times — was dominant for large stretches, totaling five sacks and returning an interception for a touchdown that extended Indianapolis’ lead to 35-14 early in the fourth quarter.
It was a long overdue complete performance that should really leave fans with just one burning question: could Jordan Wilkins continue to steal carries from Jonathan Taylor moving forward and snag the starting job?
Wilkins was arguably the player of the game for the Colts in this one, taking 20 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown. We can’t say with any ounce of confidence that feeding him the lion’s share of the touches was the plan heading into Sunday, but Reich and the rest of the coaching staff deserve tremendous credit for riding the hot hand.
As pleasant as it was to watch Wilkins carve up Detroit’s overrated defense, however, it was equally concerning seeing Taylor’s workload take a nosedive. For the game, the 2020 second-round pick managed 22 yards on 11 carries, adding two receptions for nine yards as a receiver out of the backfield.
We want nothing more than for Taylor to play a prominent role for the rest of the season, but we also can’t deny what we watched unfold on Sunday. In the simplest of terms, it would be a completely boneheaded decision by Reich to demote Wilkins back to the bench next Sunday.
Indianapolis’ long lost identity of establishing the run early in games made a return for the first time since Week 2, when Taylor erupted for a career-high 101 yards and a TD in a blowout win over Minnesota.
Given how important that is for the Colts, Wilkins should continue eating into Taylor’s workload until his purple patch runs its course. There’s no reason overthink this. Riding the hot hand is the right call here and the 2018 fifth-round pick was easily the superior player on Sunday.