The Indianapolis Colts embarrassed the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday 34-6. It doesn’t matter.
Andrew Luck completed 21-of-28 passes for 250 yards and two touchdowns for a 125.6 passer rating. It doesn’t matter.
Frank Gore led both teams in rushing with 26 carries for 101 yards. It doesn’t matter.
The Colts played their best football of 2016 by a wide margin on Sunday. For four quarters the 2016 Colts played as if they’d been replaced by the 2005 Colts. They played like a team that could do some damage in the playoffs. They also watched the door all but slam shut on their postseason hopes.
Already a long shot to make the playoffs, the Colts needed Tennessee and Houston to lose. With victory a forgone conclusion against Minnesota, and the Titans and the Texans both down big, the Colts were in a dream scenario. Until they weren’t.
Both Tennessee and Houston mounted wild comebacks to win their respective games. In a matter of minutes the Colts chances of making the playoffs plummeted from 25% to just 3.3%. Suddenly the team’s best performance of the season meant little. That’s what happens when a team doesn’t control its own destiny.
The fact is that the Colts blew their best chance at the playoffs last week, losing to the Texans at home. Yes, they gave up control of a bad division to a bad team with a historically bad quarterback (Brock Osweiler was benched on Sunday for Tom Savage). Luck played poorly, Phillip Dorsett couldn’t catch a cold, the defense got run over. T.Y. Hilton summed it up best, they “laid down.” You’ll forgive me for not patting this team on the back for showing up when it doesn’t matter.
Want to read something that will make you punch a hole in the wall? Check out Zak Keefer’s column about how yesterday may have saved Chuck Pagano’s job.
“Pagano’s team, left for dead a week ago, forced to swallow what he deemed the toughest loss of the season, offered a telling and emphatic retort Sunday inside Minnesota’s sparkling new $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium. It was the Colts’ most sound 60 minutes of football all year, a 28-point whupping of team that was once 5-0 and the talk of the NFL, a brash statement that spoke to a resolve few figured this team had in them.
No, they’re not done.
No, they’re not waving the white flag.
Yes, they’re still playing for this head coach.”
It doesn’t matter how much “resolve” the Colts showed yesterday. Where was the resolve last week? Where was the girt? Where was the iron sharpening and wood chopping Pagano loves to go on about?
It doesn’t matter how much the players like Pagano. It doesn’t matter that they’re “playing for him,” because clearly they don’t play hard enough when it counts. The Colts don’t show up for big games. Yesterday marked one year since the 2015 Colts blew a shot at the playoffs at home against a Houston team with a terrible quarterback.
The Colts are a team likely to miss the playoffs for the second straight year for the first time since the pre-Manning days. They are a team regressing at an alarming rate and wasting the best years of a talented quarterback. They are a team paying Art Jones $13 million for just 49 tackles. One blowout win doesn’t change any of that and it shouldn’t save the jobs of Pagano or Grigson.
It doesn’t matter.