INDIANAPOLIS – Desperately in search for something to get the team’s mantra going, the Colts turned to the guy who just always seems to produce.
Sorry fantasy owners, Jordan Wilkins was the Colts RB1 on Sunday.
Whether he should be it moving forward is a decision Frank Reich and his staff will discuss later in the week, but Wilkins was definitely that guy in a 41-21 victory over the Lions.
As Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines combined for just 30 rushing yards on 16 carries, the Colts turned to Wilkins and he delivered.
Wilkins, who had played just 6 combined offensive snaps and carried the ball twice the last two games, registered career-highs with 20 carries for 89 yards in Sunday’s victory.
“We have a lot of confidence in Jordan,” Frank Reich said after the Colts moved their record to 5-2. “He played especially well, so we rolled his hot hand a bit. He was seeing it well, had great balance and had some great runs.”
The Colts definitely did not have a big role in the weekly game plan for Wilkins.
But with the Colts run game once again offering hardly any support for Philip Rivers, they decided to give the guy who started the year 4th on a very deep running back depth chart more of a consistent run.
“It’s really about waiting for my turn,” Wilkins said after his career afternoon. “I don’t think anyone on this team is a selfish type player. We have a great backfield from the top to the bottom, so whenever my number is called, I just try to do the best I can to fill in for whoever has been there and make plays.
“That’s kind of how my career has been going so far. I never know when I’m going to be in there, but I just have to stay ready.”
Entering 2020, Wilkins had one of the highest yards per carry numbers of any NFL running back since he was drafted in the 5th Round of the 2018 Draft.
He averaged 6.0 yards per carry (51 attempts) as a rookie. He followed that up with 5.6 yards per carry (60 attempts) last season.
But at 3.2 yards per carry through the first 6 games of this season, Wilkins was just another non-producer in what has been the most disappointing aspect of the 2020 Colts (especially when you consider the vaunted Indy offensive line has been healthy for all but one game this year.
Yet when things were going nowhere again on Sunday, the Colts finally found some success with their needed insurance policy.
“I like Jordan a lot,” fellow draftmate Quenton Nelson said after the 41-21 win. “First of all, he’s a great guy. He’s very patient as a running back and really tries to read the blocks and hit the hole. He always runs hard, too. I appreciate Jordan a lot.”
“Every time Jordan has gotten a shot, he’s done, for the most part, a great job.”
It begs the question, with the current state of the running back room…
-Marlon Mack done for the season
-Jonathan Taylor averaging 3.89 yards per carry
-Nyheim Hines best suited in his versatile/hybrid role
…Should Wilkins get a crack as the starting/lead back?
“Sometimes it’s a question of Jordan just getting a hot hand, things didn’t come up right for Jonathan, so we’ll evaluate it,” Reich said after the win. “We’ll continue to use all 3 of those running backs, however it plays out. We believe in all 3 of them. All are different. So we will continue to use all 3 of their skills.”