Indiana Daily Student

COLUMN: Indianapolis Colts up and down on the road to the playoffs

<p>Colts running back Marlon Mack of the Colts celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the against the Panthers on Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis. </p>

Colts running back Marlon Mack of the Colts celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the against the Panthers on Dec. 22, 2019, in Indianapolis.

If you've been watching the Colts all season, you've probably felt every emotion a sports fan can have about their team. New-season excitement before week one’s kickoff, a tad uneasy after a 28-16 loss in week one to the Seattle Seahawks, and complete despair after a 1-4 record five games into the season.  

Since then, the Colts have gone 8-2, miraculously transforming their season while slowly raising every Colts fan's hopes one Sunday afternoon at a time. The team went from being ranked No. 21 in the NFL after a loss in week five to becoming No. 5 after week 16. 

This dominating switch to the season was only possible with the help of the entire team.

All three phases of the team — offense, defense, and special teams — started to come together as a finely tuned machine. Plus, the emergence of one exceptional and historical piece in that machine: running back Jonathan Taylor.

In just his second year with the Colts, Taylor has literally run through the NFL all the way into MVP talks. Taylor leads the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns. He's tied for third in yards per carry for running backs and broke multiple Colts franchise records, including most rushing points in a season and the single-season rushing record.

Taylor is one of those players you have to watch live to really understand what he's doing this season. Watching the highlights and reading the stats are not enough. No matter how the season ends, Taylor will go down as an all-time great for the Indianapolis Colts.

Taylor's greatness this season has led the way for his team. They are 9-0 when Taylor rushes for at least 100 yards and 0-6 when he doesn't, according to a tweet from ESPN. That was until the game last Sunday afternoon. 

This past Sunday, in a game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Taylor ran for 108 yards and scored a touchdown, but it didn't help the outcome. The Colts lost 23-20 via a last-second field goal that certainly left living rooms all over Indiana in an uproar.

“I just looked at my TV in shock, and then I lost it,”  IUPUI senior and Colts fan Kamby Beatty said.

Even a forced fumble and interception from Colts linebacker and defensive leader Darius Leonard weren't enough to push them over to the playoff-promised land.  

If you're a Colts fan, and your Sunday was anything like mine, you felt madness. Just when it felt like the season was becoming a Super Bowl or bust, when our destiny was in our hands, it was snatched from us in the final four seconds of the game.

To secure a playoff spot, the Colts need to beat the 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars in the season's final game. With one more win, the Colts can ride up into the playoffs and hopefully run their way to Indianapolis' first Super Bowl win since 2007.

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