Indianapolis Colts 2021 Season Awards

Colts 2021 Awards

The Indianapolis Colts entered the 2021 NFL season with hopes of being able to take another step up and ultimately reach the playoffs with a new starting quarterback under center. With quarterback Carson Wentz joining the team this season and Indianapolis anticipating that being enough to push it over the hump towards a postseason berth, the Colts concluded the year with disappointment of falling just short. Indianapolis had a chance to reach the playoffs as late as Week 18, but fell in the regular season finale to miss out on the postseason ending its season. With the year now over with for the Colts, let’s look back at the regular season in Indianapolis and pick out some team awards on both sides of the ball.

Indianapolis Colts 2021 Season Team Awards

Most Valuable Player: Jonathan Taylor

The most valuable player on the team this season, and perhaps a player who could even receive some NFL MVP votes, was star running back Jonathan Taylor. The running back enjoyed a career-best year out of the backfield and led the offense on a weekly basis.

In just his second season, Taylor not only led the Colts offense in multiple categories but he also sat atop the league at the end of the regular season in a majority of rushing statistics to further prove his dominating year. In just year two at the age of 22, Taylor is the latest addition to the list of star running backs in the NFL, and he was without a doubt the most valuable player to take the field for Indianapolis in 2021.

Offensive Player of the Year: Jonathan Taylor

Along with being the most valuable player for Indianapolis, Taylor was without a doubt the top performing offensive player for the Colts, earning him Offensive Player of the Year honors to go along with that MVP recognition. Taylor entered the year coming off an impressive rookie campaign last season where he finished with 1,169 rushing yards on 232 carries and 11 touchdowns. In year two, he crushed those statistics and took another step towards stardom to sit atop the NFL leaderboards among running backs.

In all 17 regular season games, Taylor finished with career-highs of 332 rushes for 1,811 yards and 18 touchdowns, all of which led the NFL. He also provided Indianapolis with a receiving threat out of the backfield, finishing with 40 catches for 360 yards and two touchdowns, also career highs. Taylor thrived in his sophomore campaign, and will only continue that trend from here on out with the Colts.

Defensive Player of the Year: Darius Leonard

A player who stood out the most defensively and helped anchor the Indianapolis defense in 2021 was linebacker Darius Leonard, earning him Defensive Player of the Year honors.

In year four, the 26-year-old proved his value to the Colts defense, taking the field in 16 of the 17 games. Leonard ended the year with 122 combined tackles, 75 solo tackles, four interceptions, a NFL-leading eight forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, four tackles for loss and three quarterback hits.

Ever since breaking into the NFL in 2018, Leonard has proven his value to Indianapolis in holding down the middle of the defensive unit, and he certainly did that once again his his fourth season in the league in 2021.

Comeback Player of the Year: Carson Wentz

Although Wentz didn’t take the field for the Colts prior to this year, he was certainly the Comeback Player of the Year for being able to bounce back from another injury-filled season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020.

Prior to the start of the year, Wentz was traded to Indianapolis from Philadelphia to get a much-needed fresh start elsewhere after a disappointing start to his career with the Eagles. Wentz was not only able to stay healthy and take the field in every regular season game for the Colts, but he returned to form of what we saw earlier in his career in Philadelphia.

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In 17 games, Wentz finished with 322 completions while completing 62.4 percent of his 516 pass attempts. The 29-year-old also managed to throw for 3,563 yards and 27 touchdowns while throwing just seven interceptions. Wentz’s health will continue to be key moving forward in Indianapolis, but it was a nice bounce back performance from the veteran quarterback with his new team this season.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Kylen Granson

The Offensive Rookie of the Year award was a tough one to hand out this season, as the Colts didn’t have many rookies on offense necessarily thrive in their first season in the league. By default, tight end Kylen Granson gets the award this year based on his volume of play and to some extent the production that followed.

Granson, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2021 draft by Indianapolis, managed to play in all 17 games while taking the field for 21 percent of the offensive snaps. The 23-year-old finished with 11 catches on 15 targets, hauling in 106 yards along the way. Indianapolis didn’t really need many rookies to step into big roles offensively this season, making this a tough award to hand out, but Granson had a respectable rookie year deserving of this recognition.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Kwity Paye

A player who stepped right in as a rookie on the defensive side of the ball in Indianapolis and who had a solid season in year one was defensive end Kwity Paye. Paye, who was selected in the first round of the 2021 draft out of Michigan, immediately become a starter with the Colts and helped anchor the defensive line.

The 23-year-old edge rusher finished his rookie campaign appearing in 15 of the 17 games, recording 32 combined tackles, 16 solo tackles, 10 quarterback hits, four sacks, three tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. As a first-round pick and the 21st overall selection, the Colts had high hopes for Paye to step right in as a rookie in 2021, and he did just that.

Most Improved Player: Michael Pittman Jr.

Another star on the offensive side of the ball to go along with Wentz, Taylor, and company was wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who could have even been selected as Offensive Player of the Year if it wasn’t for Taylor’s career season.

The second-year wideout not only thrived in the passing game in 2021, but he at least doubled all of his statistics achieved in 2020 during his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old finished his sophomore season playing in all 17 games, tallying 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. Pittman Jr. also ended up ranking 18th in the NFL in both receptions and receiving yards.

Pittman Jr. had a breakout season in 2021, and that will only need to continue as be becomes one of the top options for the Colts in the passing game moving forward.

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