If you listen to head coach Frank Reich, he believes that in order for the Indianapolis Colts to ‘go where [they] want to go’, starting quarterback Carson Wentz will have to be the ‘quote, unquote star of the game’ (via wthitv’s Rick Semmler):
Colts head coach Frank Reich today said he has complete confidence his QB Carson Wentz can win Indy important games down the stretch and knows he's going to have too "For us to go where we want to go. I think they'll be games Carson will be the quote, unqoute star of the game" pic.twitter.com/b7QpZEUT0F— Rick Semmler (@Rick_Sports10) December 21, 2021
And you know what?
He’s not wrong.
The Colts did beat the AFC-leading New England Patriots (then 9-4) with starting quarterback Carson Wentz finishing 5 of 12 for 57 total passing yards, a touchdown, an interception, and a passer rating of just 49.7.
Wentz was shaky from the start, overthrowing wideout Michael Pittman Jr. on a deep right pass opening drive, only to then routinely throw behind/miss his targets, and/or force three interception worthy throws (one of them which was in fact picked off).
Wentz wasn’t good, but for some perspective, it was just one start.
He’s shown his big play potential, ability to play within the offense, and mitigate mistakes when things are truly going right—but they were far from it this past weekend in a high stakes, primetime game against the Patriots.
That being said, although the Colts didn’t necessarily win in spite of Wentz (who had a couple of huge fourth down QB sneak conversions), they did win with him largely being an afterthought passing offensively (and shaky)—as the team rightfully rode ‘the horse that got them there’, Jonathan Taylor, instead to close out the game en route to victory.
While the Colts won, and their convincing victory wasn’t a fluke by any means (as they downright earned it—beating the Pats at their own game of physical ‘bully-ball’), they can’t count on being purely one dimensional offensively and winning a stretch of consecutive games against pretty good to elite AFC opponents come January football.
No matter how great Jonathan Taylor and the running game routinely are.
The Colts will need Wentz to step up and make some big plays/throws.
Whether he’ll need to be exactly the ‘star among stars’ remains unclear, but the Colts will need a lot more from Wentz than what he demonstrated this past Saturday night—if the team is serious about making any sort of deep AFC playoff push.
That much is for certain.