Photograph: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images
Just when you think everything is going right, along comes Carson Wentz.
There was a wonky stat floating around on Sunday afternoon. It pointed out that Wentz, the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback, was one game away from playing an entire season without throwing an interception on the road. It’s a neat stat. And it would be meaningful if Carson Wentz was not … Carson Wentz.
Ah, but Carson Wentz is Carson Wentz. Sunday afternoon’s 28-11 collapse in Jacksonville represented a full 10 on the Wentz-ing Scale. The quarterback threw two interceptions on two consecutive plays. He fumbled – again. One absurd sack followed the other. Misreads. Happy feet. Bad decisions. The works.
Related: NFL roundup: Raiders book playoff spot at Chargers’ expense to cap wild finale
Indianapolis entered Sunday with a simple playoff scenario ahead of them: Win and they were in. It was the same last week. They failed then. They failed on Sunday.
It doesn’t get much easier than a Week 18 trip to the hapless Jags, a team with two wins on the season, ranked 31st in defensive efficiency, and with just seven turnovers all year – half as many as the second-lowest figure in the league. This was a Jacksonville team with nothing to play for except future contracts. It’s a team with a rookie quarterback, still trying to find his sea legs in a rudimentary offense. It was a game played in front of a hometown crowd that arrived, en masse, more interested in wearing clown wigs to roast their owner than the game itself.
The Colts fell flat on their faces. They didn’t just lose, they were embarrassed. They were beaten up in the trenches for a second straight week – on both sides of the ball. Frank Reich, the team’s head coach and play-caller, shifted to a pass-centric approach, ditching the run game that had carried the team through its 6-1 midseason stretch. The ball was put in Wentz’s hands. Take us to the promised land.
Even by the standards of…