If you come at J.J. Taylor, you best not miss.
The former Arizona running back displayed his quickness and agility Thursday night in the New England Patriots’ 35-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, tallying 145 all-purpose yards.
Taylor ran for 93 yards on 12 carries, but one run stands out above the rest.
Early in the third quarter with the Patriots in striking distance of the end zone, Taylor spun around Eagles defender Michael Jacquet, sending the cornerback to the ground.
J.J. Taylor is out here putting NFL defenses through the spin cycle pic.twitter.com/oi5OyoPCS5— AZDesertSwarm.com (@AZDesertSwarm) August 20, 2021
Two plays later, Taylor ran into the end zone for his first touchdown in a Patriots uniform.
Easy touchdown for J.J. Taylor #NFLPreseason— NFL (@NFL) August 20, 2021
: #NEvsPHI on @NFLNetwork (or check local listings)
: https://t.co/PMCIWFqcJn pic.twitter.com/oVYCftcGu8
Taylor’s night was far from over, though, as he piled on in the rushing yards in the second half. He also had three catches for 18 receiving yards and returned three punts for 34 yards.
All and all, it was the type of performance that could separate Taylor in the Patriots running back depth chart.
Taylor is fighting for reps with James White, Sony Michel and Damien Harris as well as Rhamondre Stevenson, a fourth-round draft pick out of Oklahoma.
”It’s a good group,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game, per NBC Sports Boston. “Those guys work hard. They’ve all gotten opportunities and showed positively in their opportunities. I think competition brings out the best in all of us. I think those guys are competing well and they’re all contributing. It’s a great situation.”
Taylor has also carved out as New England’s primary kick and punt returner this fall. Even if his backfield presence wanes, he’s all but assured a spot with the special teams unit.
Taylor will have one more preseason game to demonstrate his strengths when the Patriots hit the road to play the New York Giants Aug. 29 at 3:00 p.m. MST.