“Jonathan Taylor is the best back not named Derrick Henry.” – King
“We owed those dudes something.” – Taylor on Beating Buffalo in Postgame Locker Room Speech
“The Eagles said they were going to give Hurts a legitimate chance to stake his claim to the starting job before the 2022 offseason rolled around…He’s capitalizing on that promise, and in a very big way recently.” – King on Eagles QB Jalen Hurts
STAMFORD, Conn. – Nov. 22, 2021 – Peter King speaks with Indianapolis running back Jonathan Taylor and head coach Frank Reich following the Colts’ 41-15 win over the Bills in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also recaps 10 things he loved about the week in football, hands out his Week 11 awards, and more.
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The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
JONATHAN TAYLOR AND THE COLTS
King on the Colts’ 41-15 win over the Bills: “The Colts, in their most decisive win of the four-year (Frank) Reich era, a win that catapulted them back into AFC South contention, had a 70-30 run-pass ratio while holding the ball for almost 38 minutes. Running it 70 percent of the time is unheard of in today’s football. The Colts played football the way Jim Brown and Jim Taylor used to: by imposing their will on the opponent.”
Reich to King on focusing on the run beginning in the third quarter: “I decided I was going to run the ball on every first and second down…Because every time we ran it, good things were happening. Every time we ran it, the pile was moving forward. And when you have Jonathan Taylor on your side, you know the pile’s going to keep moving.”
King on Taylor: “Jonathan Taylor is the best back not named Derrick Henry in football, and because Henry is likely out for the rest of the regular season at least, Taylor owns the title. He is the best running back playing.”
Taylor to King on his third-quarter touchdown run when he stiff-armed Bills safety Micah Hyde: “That’s when you really have to dig deep. When a play is perfectly designed, you usually have one man to beat. Here there was a second guy. So you have to fall back on the work you’ve put in, the study of that team during the week.”
Taylor to the Colts in his postgame locker room speech after defeating the Bills, who beat Indianapolis in the playoffs last season: “Like we mentioned all week, we owed those dudes something.”
Reich on Colts GM Chris Ballard and drafting Taylor: “I’ve worked four drafts with Chris now, since 2018, and I don’t think there’s ever been a player he liked more than Jonathan Taylor.”
King on the Colts drafting Taylor: “When the 2020 draft came along, and Ballard thought he needed a franchise back, he and his scouting staff got fixated on the 5-10, 226-pound Taylor…Early in the second round of the draft, with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and D’Andre Swift gone and the Colts still seven or eight picks away from the spot they thought they’d take Taylor, 44th overall, owner Jimmy Irsay piped up … ‘Uh, Chris,’ Irsay [said], ‘you’ve been talking about this guy Jonathan Taylor all spring. Don’t you think you ought to go get him?’ … Ballard obliged.”
King on Taylor’s football path: “In high school, he was a late bloomer in football, to the point that Harvard coach Tim Murphy was convinced he had a good shot at winning a middling recruiting race for Taylor. But Taylor wanted to prove to himself he could be a great football player, and so he chose Wisconsin.”
Taylor on picking up football: “Once I got to high school and lifting weights and working at it, football grew on me.”
King on Vikings-Packers: “I hope Sunday wasn’t Aaron Rodgers’ last time piloting Green Bay in Minnesota. The Vikings and Packers have been playing each other for 61 seasons. The last 14 featured Rodgers starting. The previous 16 had Brett Favre playing. In the 30 times, combined, that Favre and Rodgers played in Minneapolis, the Vikings are 17-13, including a great game on Sunday. Vikes 34, Pack 31.”
Minnesota QB Kirk Cousins to King on leading the game-winning drive after the Packers scored in the fourth quarter: “I’ve played against number 12 enough to know that 2:17 on the clock is too much. I never feel safe against him. But then they scored right away [on a 75-yard TD pass from Rodgers], and certainly, when we got the ball back with two minutes left, you felt like it was plenty of clock.”
King on the Vikings: “At 5-5, they’re in play for a wild-card seed, in part because of the three games remaining with Chicago (two) and Detroit (one). They need to keep Justin Jefferson, the best receiver in 2020 draft, involved; he’s so tough to cover one-on-one. The Vikings would be a tough wild-card game for anyone. Getting there will be tougher than winning in the first round.”
WEEK 11 OBSERVATIONS
King on the Titans losing to the Texans: “The top seed in the AFC, Tennessee, on six-game winning streak, got outplayed and out-turnovered by the worst team in the AFC, Houston, on an eight-game losing streak. In Nashville.”
King on the AFC East: “The Bills are 2-3 in their last five. So New England has a half-game lead on the Bills – this was supposed to be Buffalo’s time – with two December games against the Patriots set to determine a division we all thought was Buffalo’s. All of us except Bill Belichick.”
King on the Steelers: “The Steelers have a tough playoff road: They’re the eighth seed right now, and they don’t play a team with a losing record in the last seven games of the season.”
King on Ravens QB Tyler Huntley: “Tyler Huntley is a boldface name. With Lamar Jackson sidelined with an illness that had him curled into a ball on the plane from Baltimore to Chicago on Sunday, Huntley, undrafted from Utah last year, started his first game, and drove the Ravens to the winning TD in the final minutes…Though Huntley plays the running and mobile game that Jackson plays, the Ravens hope this is a one-time thing.”
King on Cardinals QB Colt McCoy: “Colt McCoy’s a big-time winner…This year, with Kyler Murray missing three games due to injury on the team with the best record in football, McCoy has been excellent. He’s 2-1, including road wins at the Niners and the Seahawks in the NFC West.”
NEWS & NOTES
King on the Bills’ remaining schedule: “I think the most interesting remaining five-game stretch of the season belongs to the Buffalo Bills, and it starts Thanksgiving night…Five games in 32 days, all against playoff contenders or playoff locks. With three losses in the last five weeks, the Bills are in trouble and don’t have much time to figure things out.”
King on the Khalil Mack trade in 2018: “With the news that Chicago’s Khalil Mack would miss the rest of the season with foot surgery, it seems like a good time – four seasons – to pass judgment on the Bears-Raiders trade that shook the NFL on Sept. 1, 2018…It’s so interesting to analyze the trade. The Bears thought Mack would be the missing edge-rush piece they needed to chase and compete with the Packers in the NFC North…The Raiders got two useable offensive pieces out of the deal – Josh Jacobs and Bryan Edwards – but in all other ways for the franchise, the trade has been a disaster.”
King on big NFL trades: “Big trades pump energy into franchises that are treading water. But they can be fool’s gold without smart teams either building around a great new player, or using high picks to build a future. This offseason could be a period of unprecedented veteran QB trades. Deshaun Watson is likely to be dealt by Houston, and Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson might be traded too. So many of these trades – three or four high picks for a great player – look lousy for the team getting the bounty a few years down the road.”
King on the Raiders: “I think this is how nutty the AFC pennant race has been: Fifteen mornings ago, the Raiders were prepping at their Jersey City hotel to get on the bus to play the Giants. Vegas was 5-2. Only one team in the conference, Tennessee, had more wins (six).”
King on Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown: “In my opinion, if Brown is confirmed to have forged his vaccine status, he should be suspended. And I believe a suspension will definitely be on the table, particularly since forging a vaccination card is a federal crime.”
KING’S WEEK 11 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Justin Herbert, LA Chargers, Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis, Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia, & Colt McCoy, Arizona.
King on Hurts: “The Eagles said they were going to give Hurts a legitimate chance to stake his claim to the starting job before the 2022 offseason rolled around, with the Eagles having enough draft capital to trade for a quarterback or to move up to draft one. He’s capitalizing on that promise, and in a very big way recently.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Kamu Grugier-Hill, Houston, & Kyle Van Noy, New England.
King on Van Noy: “Every week, five New England defenders could be in this award section, a tribute to the depth they’ve got in what could turn into a special year.”
Special Teams Player of the Week: Evan McPherson, Cincinnati.
King: “Of the 40 players picked in round five last April (32 regular picks, eight Compensatory Picks), guess which has been the most impactful in the first 11 weeks. It’s actually easy: the fifth pick in the round, McPherson, a kicker out of Florida.”
Coaches of the Week: Steve Spagnuolo, Kansas City, & Nick Sirianni, Philadelphia.
King on Spagnuolo: “Remember the 2007 Super Bowl, when Spagnuolo, the Giants’ defensive coordinator, sent such different rushes all game at Tom Brady and shocked the Patriots? That’s the kind of front (Cowboys QB Dak) Prescott saw Sunday.”
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage:
- PFT Live with NBC Sports’ Mike Florio and Mike Golic (Mondays) and Florio and Chris Simms (Tuesday-Thursday) streams live on Peacock from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. ET on weekdays, followed by The Dan Patrick Show at 9 a.m. ET, The Rich Eisen Show at Noon ET, Brother From Another at 3 p.m. ET, PFT PM at 5 p.m. ET. At 6 p.m. ET, Chris Simms Unbuttoned streams Tuesday-Friday.
- ProFootballTalk.com continues to provide the latest news and updates.
- NBC Sports EDGE’s A Good Football Show continues the NFL discussion and Bet The Edge Podcast provides daily betting insights.
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May 2019 that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.