Jim Irsay Calls Colts' 'Historic' Late Season Collapse 'An Epic Shortfall'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 20, 2022

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay speaks before head coach Frank Reich was introduced at the team's new had football coach during a press conference in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay provided a harsh assessment of his team's disappointing finish to the 2021 season.

"An epic shortfall that stunned and shocked and appalled us all," Irsay said, per Zak Keefer of The Athletic.

The Colts appeared destined for the playoffs until losing the final two games of the regular season, finishing 9-8. Needing only a win against the 2-14 Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18 to clinch a postseason berth, Indianapolis instead suffered a 26-11 loss.

"[Head coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard] and I realize the weight of this historic collapse," Irsay added. "It's not normal."

According to Keefer, the Colts had a 98 percent chance of reaching the playoffs entering Week 17.

Indianapolis did show plenty of promise during the season, finishing in the top-10 of both points scored and points allowed. The squad's plus-86 scoring margin was seventh-best in the NFL, ahead of even AFC No. 1 seed Tennessee Titans (plus-65).

It still doesn't mean much without the wins that go with it.

Irsay held a meeting with Reich and Ballard shortly after the final loss to Jacksonville, but there hasn't been any drastic change in personnel to this point. If both are staying, the next big question is about quarterback Carson Wentz, who was wildly inconsistent in 2021.

The 29-year-old had a respectable 94.6 quarterback rating this past season, but saw a limited role down the stretch as the offense relied on Jonathan Taylor and the rushing attack. Wentz reached 200 passing yards in just two of the final eight games of the year.

Indianapolis can save $28.3 million against the cap by trading Wentz and $13.3 million by releasing him, per Spotrac. It could create some tough choices as the Colts try to improve going into 2022.