Colts vs. Panthers Week 9 game should be a Jonathan Taylor show for all four quarters

Jonathan Taylor has been rounding into form and he should have an elite outing on Sunday when the Indianapolis Colts take on the Carolina Panthers.
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Jonathan Taylor has been back on the field with the Indianapolis Colts for four games, and fans have only been getting samples of one of the league’s best running backs. With Taylor being sidelined for so much time, the Colts have been smart about ramping him up. However, Taylor now appears to be ready to be the offense’s workhorse again.

It seemed like that would be the case in Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints, after Taylor carried the ball 11 times for 94 yards in the first half, but he only received one second-half carry— something that really left fans frustrated and confused with head coach Shane Steichen.

As Indianapolis prepares for the Carolina Panthers, there’s no reason the game shouldn’t be a Jonathan Taylor game for all four quarters. Carolina struggles against the run, so the Colts need to go on the road and allow Taylor to carry the team to a victory.

Colts should lean on Jonathan Taylor against Panthers

After eight weeks of the 2023 season, Carolina has the fourth-worst rushing defense, allowing 139.4 rushing yards a game. The Panthers’ pass defense, however, has been strong, allowing just 186.6 yards a game, good for sixth-best in the league.

Then there’s Indy’s offense, who has been one of the league’s top units. The Colts are rushing for 129.0 yards a game, ninth in the league, and passing for 233.4 yards a game, 13th in the NFL. The offense's biggest problem has been turnovers, giving the ball away 13 times. Gardner Minshew is responsible for the majority of those turnovers, throwing five interceptions and fumbling five times.

Fortunately, the best way for Indy to protect the ball is by leaning on its strength and capitalizing on Carolina’s weakness. That means running the ball. There’s no need for the Colts to try and get fancy; they’ll likely be able to run all over the Panthers and that’s exactly what they should do. Jonathan Taylor should get the bulk of the carries and Zack Moss should be a factor as well. If Indy executes, the NFL should have its first signature Jonathan Taylor game of the season.