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Saturday was a shoulda, coulda, woulda for the Colts

The Colts were at home on Saturday to start the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Count that as a missed opportunity.

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

The Indianapolis Colts came up short on their bid for the postseason after falling to the Texans in dramatic fashion in week 18 of the regular season. That loss certainly stung because it not only meant missing out on the playoffs, it also meant missing out on a division title and a home playoff game. Instead of suiting up to play on Saturday afternoon, the Colts watched from home while the Texans hosted the Browns.

It was close early in the second quarter as the two teams exchanged scores, but after trailing 10-14, the Texans went off to score the game’s next and last 35 points. After improbably claiming the AFC South, the Texans took full advantage and proved their blowout loss to the Browns just a few weeks ago was a product of their franchise quarterback watching from the sidelines instead of two mismatched teams. They are now on to the divisional round.

Ok, so it isn’t completely fair to say that just because the Texans manhandled the Browns that the Colts would have done the same. Even the same two teams playing each other earlier in the year, as we witnessed in this one, isn’t an apples to apples comparison. Take that to be true, but you also have to ask the question: Don’t you think the Colts could have handled the Browns too? Maybe they wouldn’t have won by a similar margin or scored on back-to-back pick sixes, but don’t you believe they would have had more than a fighter’s chance in that one?

Consider the fact that they almost beat them earlier in the season, and if you ask a lot of Colts fans, they did, if not for several questionable calls. Then take the fact that the Colts didn’t allow a near perfect passer rating by C.J. Stroud in their latest meeting, and had a legitimate chance to win the game at the end. Those factors alone are enough to put stock into a Colts victory in the playoffs at home against the Browns. Instead of basking in that glory, however, we get to see how Stroud is the chosen one. The Texans are back. The division will run through Houston for the foreseeable future. Blah, blah, blah.

Yes, the Colts had their chance. It was laid out perfectly for them to capture a division title for the first time in nearly a decade and to host a beatable opponent in the first round. They missed out, and it will now be a cold, lonely winter thinking about next year. There is only one consolation we can draw on at this time; at least we aren’t Cowboys’ fans.