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Frank Reich needs to overcome shaky record in close games for Colts to take next step

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Record in One-Score Games

Perhaps one sign of a good head coach is how his team performs in close games. Frank Reich’s teams have lost more than they’ve won in these situations.

Here is a breakdown of one-score game records (regular season and playoffs) of the coaches in the NFL (minimum of 20 games):

Matt Lafleur: 20-6 (.769)

Sean McVay: 23-11 (.676)

Mike Vrabel: 20-11 (.645)

Bill Belichick (with Patriots only): 109-66 (.623)

Bruce Arians (with Bucs only): 14-9 (.608)

Sean McDermott: 19-13 (.594)

Mike Tomlin: 79-58 (.577)

Brian Flores: 12-9 (.571)

Matt Nagy: 21-17 (.553)

Pete Carroll (with Seahawks only): 57-46 (.553)

Andy Reid (with Chiefs only): 44-36 (.550)

Kevin Stefanski: 11-9 (.550)

Sean Payton: 66-57 (.537)

Mike Zimmer: 35-32 (.522)

John Harbaugh: 66-64 (.508)

Kyle Shanahan: 17-24 (.415)

Vic Fangio: 9-15 (.375)

Zac Taylor: 6-15 (.286)

Frank Reich is 17-18 (.486) all-time. That would rank him in 16th out of the 19 qualifying coaches listed.

What makes this somewhat troubling is that Reich has had an MVP candidate in two of his 4 years as a head coach and a potential Hall of Fame quarterback in another season. The Colts had the most Pro Bowl picks in 2021 and by most measures, have had a well-balanced roster in 3 of his 4 seasons. In his 4 seasons as head coach, Reich has had 8 players selected to the All-Pro team and will likely have 2 more this year (Taylor, Leonard).

Simply put, the Colts need to do better in one-score games. The list shows that some of the best coaches find ways to win these games. Chuck Pagano won .655 of the one-score games his teams played.

Reich’s job isn’t on the hot seat, nor should it be. He’s known for his offensive talents and the Colts are averaging 27.5 points per game. The offense has a very good offensive line, and a superstar in Jonathan Taylor, as well as a budding star in Michael Pittman Jr. He has offensive pieces and should get credit for ensuring that these plays have developed.

But none of that will matter if he can’t find ways to win big and/or close games with them.

Reich is a very good leader of men and is well respected in the locker room. He has the right mentality on 4th downs and is 60% in his career when going for it, which is 5th best in the NFL since 2018. He does a lot of things right and he does have a playoff win, but when it comes down to it, he’s not yet proven that he can lead his teams to wins in big moments and close games.

He’ll need to do that before the Colts will be able to insert themselves amongst the teams pose the greatest challenge to teams in the playoffs.