Jim Irsay on Colts' Collapse, Missing 2022 NFL Playoffs: 'The Buck Stops with Me'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 12, 2022

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks during a Ring of Honor ceremony during halftime of an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AP Photo/AJ Mast

All the Indianapolis Colts had to do was defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 to make the playoffs, but they came up short.

CEO Jim Irsay released a letter to Colts fans Wednesday and took responsibility for missing the playoffs, saying "the buck stops with me."

Indianapolis Colts @Colts

A message from <a href="https://twitter.com/JimIrsay?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@JimIrsay</a>: <a href="https://t.co/DuakGePHQI">pic.twitter.com/DuakGePHQI</a>

He also added: "This experience makes me even more determined to bring Indiana a contending team. We are already working toward the future, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to put us in a position to win next year and for years to come."

The Colts were perhaps the biggest roller coaster of the NFL season.

They looked nothing like a playoff-caliber team when they started 1-4 but suddenly looked capable of upsetting the top AFC teams and making a run all the way to the Super Bowl when they won eight of the next 10 games to improve to 9-6.

Jonathan Taylor was an MVP candidate who couldn't be stopped, and Indianapolis defeated contenders in the San Francisco 49ers, Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals during that stretch.

Unlike what happened as the Miami Dolphins turned their season around after a slow start, this was not a case of the Colts beating mostly bad teams that weren't legitimate playoff factors.

The playoffs looked all but certain heading into the final two weeks of the season, since they needed just one win either at home against the Las Vegas Raiders or on the road against the lowly Jaguars.

A three-point loss to a Raiders team that made the playoffs is one thing, but losing by 15 to a Jaguars squad that will pick first in the NFL draft for the second straight year was a stunning development.

Carson Wentz played poorly and threw an interception while being sacked six times, and the defense struggled to stop rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but Irsay took responsibility and is already looking ahead to next year.