The disappointment will linger within the Indianapolis Colts for a while.
Having control over their postseason fate, winning over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 is all they needed to proceed after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders at home the week before.
All indications pointed to a Colts victory, primarily because of Jonathan Taylor, who led the league in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and rushing first downs.
The J-Train keeps rolling. 🚂 pic.twitter.com/Qh9uDN58v3
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 7, 2022
They also have quarterback Carson Wentz, who threw only six interceptions before their season closer.
But with their Super Bowl aspirations on the line, Frank Reich‘s crew failed against a team that only had two wins before their encounter.
The Jaguars were on an eight-game losing streak to further highlight their futility and hadn’t scored 20 or more points since Week 6.
Colts Got Clowned By The Jaguars
On a day when some of their fans came into TIAA Bank Field wearing clown costumes, the Jaguars got the last laugh.
The Colts had a laughable performance, but for all the wrong reasons.
They were never in the game and never scored a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter.
Live look at Jaguars-Colts pic.twitter.com/2knmBk0MPB
— PFF (@PFF) January 9, 2022
Murphy’s Law was in full effect for the Colts, which won eight of their last 10 games, including victories against playoff-bound teams like the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and Arizona Cardinals.
Taylor rushed for only 77 yards which is a failure, considering he went over 100 yards in seven of his last eight games.
Wentz also turned the ball over twice, resulting in 10 Jacksonville points.
Even their defense couldn’t find a solution against the surprisingly effective Jaguars offense.
The Colts losing a win-and-in game to a 2-14 franchise with fans wearing clown wigs would be one of the most embarrassing losses since the merger.
— Kevin Clark (@bykevinclark) January 9, 2022
As a result, Darrell Bevell’s squad had 19 first downs and converted on seven out of 15 third-down opportunities.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense couldn’t do anything wrong against the Colts.
They sacked Wentz six times and limited their opponents to 233 total yards on offense.
Indianapolis’ defeat extends their winless run in Jacksonville, which dates back to 2014.
Colts To Face An Offseason Of Uncertainty
Rich Eisen of the NFL Network summarized it best by saying, “the Colts went from the team nobody wanted to face in the playoffs to a team nobody is seeing in the playoffs.”
They had a chance to make a splash in the postseason if only they clinched their berth.
But as disappointing as it sounds, the Colts are back on the drawing board in building their roster.
In the span of two weeks, the Colts went from the team nobody wanted to see in the playoffs to a team nobody is seeing in the playoffs.
— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 9, 2022
Luckily, Indianapolis has a little over $54 million in cap space, giving GM Chris Ballard some flexibility in retooling the roster.
However, they have to give their first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles because Wentz played over 75 percent of the team’s snaps.
The Colts-Eagles trade summary:
Colts received: Carson Wentz
Eagles received: Top-20 pick, 3rd rd pick, $103M in cap relief
Eagles made the playoffs, the Colts did not 👀 pic.twitter.com/FDh4IzwSyz
— PFF (@PFF) January 9, 2022
All is not lost on the Colts because they still have a formidable roster, especially on their offensive line.
Likewise, Frank Reich has three winning seasons in four years as head coach.
Unfortunately, their title aspirations will continue to become false hopes if they won’t show up in the games that matter.