How Adrian Phillips, Patriots View Colts’ Offense Before Week 15 Clash

Indianapolis leads the league in rushing average and is second in rushing yards


Dec 14, 2021

The New England Patriots will have a tough task in Week 15 as they travel to Indianapolis to face the league’s leading rusher in running back Jonathan Taylor, and a Colts offense that ranks third in points scored.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows the challenge the group presents. It seems those on the New England defense do, as well.

“That’s a legit offense right there,” safety Adrian Phillips told reporters Tuesday, per the team website. “Taylor’s a home run hitter, he’s a guy that’s not afraid of contact. You can see as the game keeps going he just gets more physical and if people don’t want to hit when it comes to the third or fourth quarter, especially when they have the lead, especially when he’s in his zone and if he smells a fish, he’s going to attack you.”

Taylor has recorded 1,348 rushing yards on 241 carries and 16 touchdowns in 13 games. He’s also arguably the league’s most dynamic pass-catching back with two touchdowns in the receiving game while averaging 9.3 yards per catch. He’ll eclipse 1,700 yards from scrimmage against the Patriots.

It all starts up front for Indianapolis with left tackle Eric Fisher and left guard Quenton Nelson among those leading the push in the trenches. The Colts lead the league in rushing average, are second in rushing touchdowns and fifth in rushing attempts.

“It’s an unbelievable running attack,” Patriots inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo told reporters Monday, per ESPN. “A lot of people say it starts with Taylor, but you look at those guys up front, they’ve done a great job opening holes for the backs.”

Phillips specifically noted how it will be crucial for New England to get off to a strong start. After all, if the Colts, who are in playoff contention behind the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South, get off to an early lead behind Taylor, it allows the second-year back to continue to feast on the ground game.

“That first quarter kind of dictates what the game is going to be,” Phillips said. “You always want to start fast and everybody talks about starting fast, well this is like the best team at starting fast. When we get out there we have to make sure that we’re ready for whatever they throw at us, because they throw a lot of stuff at teams in the first quarter and that’s how they get up and games.”

Both the Patriots, who lead the AFC and hold a two-game advantage in the division, and the Colts are coming off bye weeks. New England will further help itself in pursuit of the AFC East with a win Saturday night in primetime. Colts-Patriots will be one of two NFL games heading Saturday’s Week 15 slate.

Kickoff from Lucas Oil Stadium is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports
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