The Indianapolis Colts will met the Texans at Lucas Oil for a playoff game on Saturday night. Ok, so it isn’t technically a playoff game, but it might as well be one. The winner advances as at least a Wild Card and could end up as the division champ while the loser only gets the moral victory of a season well played. Will the latter be enough for fans if the Colts find themsevles in that position?
Of course, we all want the same thing. This team has fought through so much and come so far that a loss on Saturday would be crushing. For so long, the playoffs were a foregone conclusion. There were only two questions each season: 1. What seed? and 2. When would they experience their first loss? With the Manning led Colts jockeying for the one or two seed each year, the first loss was normally well into the year.
Those days are gone, and it has been a few years since the Colts have made the playoffs and even longer since they made any noise. All of that can change with a win on Saturday. Sure, even if they win, their next opponet will be tough. All playoff matchups tend to be tough as the games slow to a crawl and possessions become gold in slug it out contests. Just make it though. You never know what could happen.
What if they lose though? That is a distinct possibility. The Colts are favored by only a point meaning this one is predicted to be close. The Colts have home field advantage, but Hoston has the better quarterback. I would rather have the better QB in the contest, road or home. There is a not so fantasy world in which the Colts are carved up by Houston’s passing attack and are sent packing. If that happens, will you be satisfied with how the season shaped up as a whole?
It may take a moment to swallow that bitter pill, but rationally, I think most fans will have seen this season as a success. Outside of Anthony Richardson not getting to play much, everything else seems to have worked out brilliantly. The Colts took a 4-12-1 team that battled major injuries, suspensions, turmoil, and a rookie head coach and ended the year with nine wins. If you bet the future’s over for wins, you would have cashed in on that one. We saw a glimpse of the future in the quarterback, coach, and young players to leave more than encouraged.
This wasn’t a complete rebuild. This was a retool, but sometimes retools should be rebuilds. Retools can delay what truly needs to be done. In this case, retooling around solid veterns while rebuilding with young talent worked seamlessly. Yes, all Colts fans want the win on Saturday. No doubt. I encourage you, however, to reflect on what this season could have been after we witnessed 2022. If you do that, I believe you will leave with a bit of encouragement for the 2024 season, no matter how quickly is begins.