This was a bad week to be facing Jonathan Taylor in fantasy football — or on the actual gridiron.
The Colts running back torched the Bills for 185 rushing yards on 32 carries, four of which went for touchdowns, as Indianapolis ran past Buffalo 41-15 on Sunday. He also caught three passes for 19 yards, including another touchdown.
Taylor’s five-touchdown effort puts him in some pretty historic company across the board. Sporting News takes a look at some particularly interesting milestones he checked off on Sunday.
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Best of 2021
There has yet to be a non-quarterback total five touchdowns in a single game during the 2021 NFL season. Until today.
Taylor’s four rushing scores and one receiving touchdown surpassed Aaron Jones’ Week 2 total of four scores for the single-game total this year.
The five total touchdowns also made Taylor just the 16th non-QB in NFL history to tally at least five total touchdowns, and only the fourth since 2000, joining Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander in 2002, Broncos running back Clinton Portis in 2003 and Saints running back Alvin Kamara in 2020, according to Stathead.
Kamara tied the NFL record with six touchdowns in Week 16 against the Vikings last season.
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Unstoppable on the ground
Of course, most of Taylor’s damage came on the ground, and it was substantial.
Taylor is the first player since Derrick Henry in 2018 to rush for 180 yards and score at least four touchdowns in a game. He became only the 14th running back to reach such a game in NFL history, according to Stathead.
At 22 years old, he is also the second-youngest running back to post this type of game. Jim Brown is the youngest at 21 — he accomplished it a second time at age 22, still a few days younger than Taylor — and Portis reached the milestone in 2003, a few days younger than Taylor as well, whe he rushed for 218 yards and scored five times.
When a running back posts big numbers like this, it’s always rewarding to start him in your fantasy football league.
Owners who did this week were treated across the board. Taylor posted 53.4 points in ppr leagues, 51.9 points in half-point ppr and 50.4 points in standard leagues.
As would be expected, that too puts him in some elite company for single game performances. Only 19 running backs have previously posted at least 50 ppr points, according to Stathead, with Kamara’s six-touchdown game the most recent example.
Even fewer have reached it without the benefit of passing points. Taylor becomes just the 12th to hit the 50 mark and is, again, the most recent since Kamara.
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Multiple stellar games
Perhaps what has been most impressive with Taylor is that he has been consistently dominant since arriving in the NFL.
The Colts’ single-game rushing yard record-holder with a 253-yard game last season, Taylor has had several games like the one he had on Sunday.
In fact, this was his fourth game rushing for at least 150 yards and scoring at least two rushing touchdowns. The outstanding performance came in just his 26th NFL game.
Taylor ties Lions’ Billy Sims for the most such games in their first 26 games at four, according to Stathead. No other running back has been able to put together more performances with those impressive numbers.
100 yards = Colts win
Where Taylor goes, the Colts go. Since arriving in the NFL, Taylor has rushed for at least 100 yards nine times, and he’s scored at least one touchdown in each of those games.
The Colts are a perfect 9-0 in those games, and they are 7-9 when he doesn’t hit 100 yards. In fact, they’ve won every game in which Taylor has rushed for at least 80 yards. They’re also 11-5 when Taylor scores a rushing touchdown — 5-1 with multiple touchdowns on the ground.
This continues a trend Wisconsin followed when Taylor was a running back for the Badgers. In games where Taylor hit 100 rushing yards, Wisconsin was 26-6.