(Image credit: Marc Lebryk/USA Today Sports)
Written by: Nicholas Mullick
I.. I am stunned right now. I am more stunned than I was when the New York Jets vs New England Patriots game where the Jets had two weeks to prepare for a team they already faced. The Indianapolis Colts blew it. They had a 98% chance of making the playoffs heading into their final two games. This was an easy place to take the playoff spot and they blew it. This is one of the biggest collapses in franchise history (We will get to that game in this article). I have never been this angry at a team that should have made the playoffs and did not since the New York Jets had that 10-6 season with Todd Bowles as the head coach in 2015. This was an absolute disappointment and there are three reasons why the Indianapolis Colts were eliminated today. In this article, I will go through the 3 main reasons.
1. The disgraceful Week 18 performance
So yeah I am going to start by reviewing the absolutely disgraceful performance by the Indianapolis Colts in their game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. You know I had a lot of praise when it came to the Indianapolis Colts thinking that they had a chance at improvement and a deep playoff push. Boy was I disappointed as they once again lost to the worst team in the league. That game is one of the greatest implosions I've seen in the regular season since the Week 17 Jets vs Bills game in 2015 when Todd Bowles was the head coach and had a 10-6 season. Speaking of coaching let me get on Frank Reich. The playcalling was abysmal both on offense and on defense. It was that bad. It is unbelievable how this team beat the Patriots and Cardinals then just stopped playing the last two weeks. The Colts looked extremely unmotivated on the sidelines and looked like they gave up in the middle of the game. That is on coaching. This game made me question whether Frank Reich is the guy to lead this team. Do I see him losing his job this offseason? I don’t think so. But he is on the hot seat for next season.
I want to talk about Carson Wentz now. I have been a pro-Wentz guy and he was having a good season. My goodness was he horrible in this matchup. He made some of the worst interceptions that I have ever seen him throw. He looked like he easily crumbled under pressure again in this game. Keep in mind the o-line was bad in this game too but even when they are healthy he looks like he easily crumbles in this game. I won't be shocked if the Colts decide to move on from him as he has 3 years left and cutting him can save 13.2 million dollars for this season. What a waste of a Jonathan Taylor season as he was fantastic in this season and in this game. He absolutely can’t do everything but he was the best player on this offense. The Defense was a mess again and I wonder if the Colts decide to blow it up in the secondary as it has been a mess lately. This was a disgraceful performance for the Indianapolis Colts and this is a big reason why the Colts did not make the playoffs this season.
2. Slow Start at the beginning of the season
This is something that has always followed the Indianapolis Colts. In 2018 the Colts in their first six games they lost 5 of them. In 2019 the Colts in their first six games lost 2 and had a bye week. In 2020 the Colts in their first six games lost 2 and had a bye week. Now In 2021 the Colts first six games they lost 4 games. This is all in the Frank Reich era as the Colts have had a habit of getting a slow start in the NFL Season. If the Colts did not have a slow beginning then they could have easily made the playoffs this season.
3. No #1 receiver.
I have said it before and I will say it again the Colts do not have a number 1 receiver on their team. TY Hilton has suffered massive levels of regression and has had durability issues all season. Plus TY Hilton contemplated retirement before the season began. Parris Campbell can’t stay healthy and even when healthy he is not good. Zach Pascal is terrible. The only receiver that was solid for the Indianapolis Colts this season is Michael Pittman jr. and I see him as more of a #2 or #3 receiver on the offense. The Colts need to give Carson Wentz more weapons during the offseason and get a good #1 receiver.
Now the question is what is next? To be honest I have no idea what they do now. I doubt they get rid of Frank Reich this season but he is absolutely on the hot seat for next season including GM Chris Ballard. It is playoffs or nothing for the Colts. Whether the team decides to keep or move on from QB Carson Wentz is another factor to discuss. At least they have a Top 20 pick to build the team more right, Oh wait they don’t have it as their first-round pick is Philadelphia Eagles property due to the Carson Wentz trade. There is only one question that we have to ask is, What if the Colts did not ruin Andrew Luck?