On Saturday, the Indianapolis Colts saw their playoff hopes officially end as they were unable to defeat the Oakland Raiders. The Colts lost 33-25, and it was an ugly game for the team all-around.
One aspect of that ugliness was a couple of interceptions by quarterback Andrew Luck, and like he typically does, he put the blame for the loss on his own shoulders after the game.
“We failed,” he said. “I feel like I failed and feel like I failed my teammates. There’s a lot of disappointed guys in that locker room. We did have an opportunity and we didn’t take advantage of it, and unfortunately that seems to be the case way too many times this year. There’s not much else to say.”
Luck’s first interception came when he was under pressure and threw across the middle, at which point the Raiders jumped the pass and picked it off. Luck’s second interception was worse, as he tried to force the ball into double coverage to T.Y. Hilton and it was picked off.
“The interceptions were bad decisions,” he said. “The first one, I thought I put it in a decent spot and they made a good play. The second one was bad on all levels. You can’t do that. It went from what was probably a guaranteed three points there to make it 10-13, but a touchdown on their end and it’s going to the half, and I’m not sure how much it was but then it’s 20-7, so that was a big, big, pivotal moment in the game and there’s really no one else to blame but me.”
The Raiders wound up scoring 14 points off of those two interceptions, which Chuck Pagano pointed out, but that’s a bit of an erroneous way of thinking because the Raiders still had to drive 54 and 80 yards, respectively, after those picks. So the touchdowns given up were absolutely on the defense and not on the offense, because Oakland still had to drive over half the field to score. The crushing thing about the picks, though, is that it took points away from the Colts. On one of them in particular, the Colts were in
fake field goal range and should have had at least three points, and against a team like the Raiders with a defense like the Colts’ everyone knew Indy would have to score plenty of points. But they were too inconsistent early on in the game, and part of that was their quarterback.
Luck recovered and had a solid game overall, completing 19 of 29 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns to go with the two picks, while he also rushed for 12 yards and a touchdown. That’s not a bad game, but it’s not great either - and what the Colts needed Luck to be in this game (and all season) was great. Those two interceptions were only two plays from the game and don’t excuse the bigger issue of the defensive meltdown (the Raiders scored a touchdown on five straight drives, which makes it hard to win no matter how the offense is playing), but the fact of the matter is that those two picks wound up costing the Colts. And when you get into a situation where every little detail matters and where you’re on the brink of elimination, you’ve given yourself no margin for error. Now, the Colts will be sitting at home for the playoffs for the second straight season.
“It’s not good,” Luck said of that fact. “It’s not what being a Colt is all about. It’s not what playing for the horse shoe is all about. Not that the playoffs are the goal, the ultimate goal every year. We know what the ultimate goal is but to get there you have to get to the playoffs and that’s the standard that many guys set long before I joined this club and like all the guys in the room, I feel responsible for not making it.”
Luck shoulders some of the blame, but the issues on this team run far deeper. In fact, Luck is the least of the Colts’ concerns heading into the offseason after the horrendous football they’ve played and the bad team they’ve built.