The Indianapolis Colts fell to the Las Vegas Raiders 23-20 on Sunday. Now 9-7 on the season, Indy will travel to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars in hopes of securing its third playoff berth in four seasons under Head Coach Frank Reich.
Here are my biggest takeaways from the Colts’ Week 17 performance.
- Colts still face ‘win-and-in’ scenario against Jaguars
Despite losing to the Raiders Sunday, the Colts are still very much alive in the AFC playoff race. Currently, Indy sits at the No. 6 seed and would officially clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Jacksonville Jaguars next Sunday.
Even with a 2-14 record, the Jags have had the Colts’ number in each of their last six match-ups at home, as Indy hasn’t won a game in Jacksonville since 2014. Facing a ‘win-and-in’ situation, Indy will need to end its 6-game losing streak on the road against their division rival.
- Sluggish offensive performance costly for Indy
The Colts’ offense wasn’t anything like fans were used to seeing over the last few months, as they came out flat against a desperate Raiders’ team through much of the game. Quarterback Carson Wentz started 0-of-4 and finished 16-of-27 for 148 yards and one touchdown. Wentz has been solid for the Colts this season but really struggled with his efficiency Sunday.
What turned out to be extremely costly was the Colts’ inability to capitalize off two turnovers forced by cornerback Isaiah Rodgers and linebacker Darius Leonard, which could’ve swung momentum in their favor. Additionally, Sunday was the first time running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for over 100 yards (20 carries, 108 yards), and Indy lost.
A similar offensive performance like the one we witnessed Sunday cannot happen against the Jaguars, or the Colts may find themselves sitting at home through the playoffs.
- Defenses flat-footed start does Colts’ offense no favors
Yes, Indy’s defense forced two key turnovers Sunday. However, their defense also came out flat-footed, allowing Raiders’ quarterback Derrek Carr to go 5-of-5 on Las Vegas’ opening possession, which led to a touchdown and 7-0 lead early on.
The Colts’ defense also struggled on third down, as they allowed the Raiders to convert on more than of half of their third downs and go 2-for-2 on fourth down as well.
While the defense doesn’t deserve a majority of the blame for the team’s loss, their inconsistencies throughout Sunday’s game — especially on key downs — turned out to be very costly in Indy’s all-around disappointing performance.