INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jonathan Taylor rushed for a franchise-record 253 yards and two scores, capping the Indianapolis Colts’ 28-14 playoff-clinching victory over Jacksonville on Sunday with a 45-yard touchdown run with 3:35 to go.
Philip Rivers threw for another score and the Colts defense shut out the Jaguars over the final quarter to help preserve the victory.
Indianapolis (11-5) will make its first postseason appearance since 2018 and its second since 2015. The Colts will be the No. 7 seed and face Buffalo on the road.
Jacksonville (1-15) lost its final 15 games and will have the No. 1 overall draft pick in April.
Taylor was sensational, carrying 30 times while joining Hall of Famer Edgerrin James as the only players in franchise history to run for 200 yards in a game. James set the franchise record of 219 yards at Seattle in October 2000. James also rushed for 204 yards at Chicago in November 2004.
And Taylor’s big day came when the Colts needed it most after blowing a 17-point, third-quarter lead the previous week at Pittsburgh. That loss meant Indy needed one of four teams — Baltimore, Cleveland, Miami or Tennessee — to lose just to have a chance at making the postseason. So when the Bills clinched the conference’s No. 2 seed with a 56-26 rout of the Dolphins, the Colts were back in the playoff hunt.
This time, Taylor made sure Indy took full advantage of the opportunity.
He sprinted 56 yards on Indy’s third play to set up Rivers’ 6-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton. After a short field goal made it 10-0, Taylor scored on a 1-yard run to make it 17-0 early in the second quarter. Eventually, the Colts extended the lead to 20-0.
Jacksonville finally answered with a 9-yard TD pass from Mike Glennon to Laviska Shenault Jr. with 27 seconds left in the first half. Shenault’s 8-yard TD reception cut the deficit to 20-14 midway through the third quarter.
But Taylor clinched it with the long TD run.
Jaguars: Leading receiver DJ Chark Jr. and top rusher James Robinson both sat out with injuries. LB Dakota Allen left to be evaluated for a concussion but was cleared to return. LT Cam Robinson (wrist) and CB Greg Martin (hamstring) also left with injuries.
Colts: Jared Veldheer started in place of injured LT Anthony Castonzo, and the Colts played without two starters in the secondary — S Khari Willis and CB Rock Ya-Sin. Neither defensive back cleared the concussion protocol. RB Jordan Wilkins went on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Sunday, too.
Jaguars: Shenault caught two TDs in the same game for the first time in his career. … Coach Doug Marrone’s record is now 12-36 since he led Jacksonville to the AFC championship game following the 2017 season. … Chris Conley had seven receptions for a seaso-high 87 yards. … Glennon was sacked six times. … The Jaguars rushed 17 times for 53 yards.
Colts: Rivers’ TD pass, No. 421 in his career, broke a tie for fifth on the NFL’s list with Dan Marino. Rivers also passed Eli Manning (8,119) for No. 6 in league history in career attempts and now has (8,134). … Hilton had his 50th career TD reception, tying the late Jimmy Orr for fourth on the franchise list. … Taylor became the first Colts rookie to rush for 1,000 yards since Joseph Addai in 2006. … Rodrigo Blankenship made his 31st field goal in the first quarter, breaking Raul Allegre’s franchise record for a rookie. It was set in 1983.
Jaguars: face a long offseason and probably a major overhaul. If Trevor Lawrence is on the way, though, it could be worth the wait.
Colts: will hit the road next weekend to face the Bills.