Elite OL deserves some credit for Jonathan Taylor NFL rushing lead

Colts running back Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL in rushing and his offensive line has been a huge reason why.

Eric Fisher, Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski, and Braden Smith. Those are the five offensive linemen who started Sunday’s game for the Indianapolis Colts. With their help, running back Jonathan Taylor was able to rush for 185 yards, pile up four touchdowns on the ground, and capture sole possession of the rushing title.

The big men up front don’t usually get headlines, but they played a huge role in Taylor’s success on Sunday. Like Taylor, they delivered a special performance against the NFL’s top-ranked defense, dominating the line of scrimmage and creating plenty of lanes to run.

That’s something this offensive line has been doing all season, and that’s why Taylor has been as dominant as he is. Make no mistake, Taylor is special in his own right and that shows once he gets into the open field, but the offensive line has been phenomenal in getting him into that position lately.

Colts offensive line is a huge help for Jonathan Taylor

Viewers typically don’t watch football games and observe the offensive line play, so it’s understandable if the effectiveness of Indianapolis’ front is lost in the sauce.

Let’s look at a couple of Taylor’s touchdown runs — but instead of watching Taylor, just watch the offensive line.

This is Taylor’s first touchdown from Sunday and it came against a loaded box on the three-yard line in a run-heavy situation. Despite all signs pointing to Taylor getting the ball, a defender wasn’t able to get near him until he was already at the goal line.

That is because the offensive linemen and the tight ends perfectly opened him a lane.

This is Taylor’s longest touchdown run of the season, 83 yards. He didn’t encounter the first defender until he was already 16 yards from the line of scrimmage and, at that point, it was too late.

Aside from the film, the advanced stats also show that the Colts’ offensive line has been putting in work. Not only does Taylor lead the NFL in straight-up rushing yards, but he has an NFL-best 518 rushing yards before contact, nearly 70 more yards than the next best running back.

All of this is to say, Jonathan Taylor is special, but so is the Colts’ offensive line. If they continue to rush towards the rushing title, and possibly the MVP, Taylor’s name will be on the trophy, but like most achievements in football, it will be a team award.