Taylor makes hefty workload pay off as Colts beat Vikings
By MICHAEL MAROT
INDIANANPOLIS (AP) Jonathan Taylor looked right at home in his first NFL start.
He made Sunday's hefty workload look pretty easy, too.
The 21-year-old running back rushed 26 times for 101 yards and scored his first NFL touchdown, leading the Indianapolis Colts past Minnesota 28-11.
"After the first carry, you kind of get in that mindset, you realize it's football and you focus and lock in and you go play after play," he said. "You do that, and pretty soon it's the fourth quarter."
Taylor finally celebrated his first win inside Lucas Oil Stadium with the roof open, after losing twice in the Big Ten championship game with the roof closed when he played at Wisconsin, and became the first Colts rookie to top the 100-yard mark since 2012 with about 2,500 people in attendance.
Philip Rivers picked up his first win with the Colts (1-1) by going 19 of 25 for 214 yards, with one touchdown - No. 399 overall - and one interception. He tied Hall of Famer and former Vikings great Fran Tarkenton for eighth all-time with career win No. 124.
But he also had fun - with the best seat in the house.
"You're talking about his second game, no OTAs, zero preseason games and he was the workhorse today," he said. "Jonathan's going to be a heck of a player. He made some unbelievable cuts, unbelievable runs today where you can see the more experience he gets, he's going to make those cuts without any hesitation."
Taylor wasn't Indy's only impressive rookie.
Michael Pittman Jr. caught four passes for 37 yards, Julian Blackmon tipped the ball to Khari Willis for an interception and Rodrigo Blankenship made all four field-goal attempts.
For the Vikings, it was another ugly day. Kirk Cousins had a 0.0 passer rating late into the third quarter, thanks in part to drops, one of which bounced off the hands of Bisi Johnson and into the arms of cornerback Kenny Moore II. Cousins finished 11 of 26 with 113 yards and three interceptions, a 15.9 rating and was tackled in the end zone for a safety for the second straight week.
The result: Minnesota is 0-2 for the first time since 2013 and has lost five of its past six games including last season's playoff loss.
"We can't start winning until we stop losing, and right now we're doing things to beat ourselves with the turnovers and sacks and safeties and penalties on third downs on defense," Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer said.
Minnesota took a 3-0 lead on its opening possession, but Taylor's 5-yard TD run early in the second quarter gave Indy a 7-3 lead. The safety made it 9-3 and Blankenship made three field goals before Zach Pascal caught a 2-yard TD pass from Rivers to make it 25-3.
Dalvin Cook scored on a 5-yard run before the Vikings closed out the scoring with a 2-point conversion in the waning minutes.
Vikings: Linebacker Anthony Barr, a four-time Pro Bowler, did not return after injuring his shoulder in the first half and running back Mike Boone entered the concussion protocol in the second half. Zimmer said Barr would be evaluated Monday.
Colts: Starting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin showed up to Lucas Oil Stadium with a stomach illness and went to a hospital for further evaluation. Receiver Parris Campbell was carted off the field after hurting his left knee on the Colts second play and starting safety Malik Hooker left with an Achilles tendon injury. Coach Frank Reich said the Colts don't know the severity of Hooker's injury, but that Campbell's "didn't look good."
According to Pro Football Reference, the only other time Minnesota had safeties in consecutive games was December 2007. But the Vikings have actually had it in three straight - going back to last season's regular-season finale.
Cousins tried to bully his way out of the end zone, with some push from the offensive line, but the refs ruled him to be in the grasp.
"I was going through my read and obviously felt pressure and tried to move, and then they had me in the grasp," Cousins said. "I just tried to get out of the end zone the best I could."
Vikings: Cook had 14 carries for 63 yards and Adam Thielen caught three passes for 31 yards. ... Minnesota has twice as many successful 2-point conversions (four) as extra points this season (two). ... The Vikings finished with 175 total yards and ran 20 fewer plays than Indianapolis.
Colts: Indy had a nearly 17-minute advantage on time of possession. ... Mo Alie-Cox, who replaced injured two-time Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle, had five receptions for 111 yards. ... The Colts ran 40 times for 151 yards.
Vikings: Return home to face Tennessee next Sunday.
Colts: Can have up to 7,500 fans at next week's home game against the New York Jets.
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Updated September 20, 2020