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Indianapolis Colts: 4 takeaways from embarrassing shutout vs. Jaguars

indianapolis colts

Last season, the Indianapolis Colts were a win away from reaching the playoffs. However, they lost their final two games including a blowout loss in Jacksonville to the Jaguars, keeping them out. In that game, then Colts quarterback Carson Wentz played terribly. That led to the team moving on and deciding to sign aging veteran Matt Ryan.

Ryan is a former NFL MVP who came seconds from winning a Super Bowl. It was expected that he would be a massive upgrade and was the missing piece in an otherwise Super Bowl contending roster. On Sunday, the Colts were embarrassed by the Jaguars once again down in Jacksonville, 24-0.

Indianapolis is now 0-1-1 and tied with the Houston Texans in the AFC South. Luckily for the Colts, the division is mostly a disaster with the Jaguars sitting atop of it at 1-1. Nevertheless, it’s worth taking a look at the key takeaways from the disappointing loss Sunday.

Indianapolis Colts: 4 Takeaways from Embarrassing Shutout Loss to Jaguars

4. Carson Wentz was not the problem

As I mentioned above, Carson Wentz was the scapegoat for last season’s failures in Indianapolis. But after the deflating loss to the Jaguars Sunday, the writing is on the wall. Carson Wentz was not the reason they failed last season.

The biggest knock on Wentz when he joined the Colts was his propensity to turn the ball over. But quietly last season, Wentz did a much better job taking care of the football. He tossed 27 touchdown passes to just seven interceptions. But everyone remembers that poor performance in the final game last season. Well, Matt Ryan just played equally as terrible on Sunday in the same building.

Ryan finished 16-for-30 for 195 yards and three interceptions. Meanwhile, Wentz on Sunday almost erased a 22-p0int deficit against the Detroit Lions. He has thrown seven touchdowns in the first two games of the season for Washington.

I’m not arguing that Wentz was the answer to the Colts’ problems. I’m simply pointing out that there were bigger problems than just his performance last season. It obviously does not help the offense when there are no valuable receivers available.

3. Colts offensive line not as good as advertised

The public perception has been that the Colts have arguably the best offensive line in football. Much of that has to do with Jonathan Taylor’s season last year when he almost rushed for 2,000 yards. But there is more to being a dominant offensive line.

On Sunday, Matt Ryan was sacked five times by the Jaguars. That brings his season total to seven after being taken down twice by the Texans. Those two defenses are not recognized as some that get after the quarterback. The Colts line is going to have to do a better job buying Matt Ryan some time to throw.

The Colts line even struggled to consistently open holes for Taylor Sunday, who finished with 54 yards rushing.

2. Frank Reich needs to prove he’s a good head coach

When the Indianapolis Colts brought in former Eagles offensive coordinator Frank Reich to be their head coach, it was viewed as a home run hire. Reich is no doubt a great offensive mind. That goes well before his time in Philadelphia too. He was a great college and NFL quarterback.

In college, he set the record for the greatest comeback in NCAA history, leading the Maryland Terrapins back from a 31-0 deficit to beat the Miami Hurricanes. He then set that same record in the NFL. Reich was the quarterback when the Buffalo Bills erased a 35-3 deficit against Warren Moon and the Houston Oilers in the 1993 AFC Wild Card Game. He is sharp and understands offensive football. But that does not make someone a great head coach. There are a lot of Colts fans who are starting to wonder.

What has he really done since taking that role with the Colts? Indianapolis has won a bunch of times. But far too often the Colts have appeared not ready to play to start a game. That was evident in both games so far this year. That falls on coaching and nothing else. There is no excuse for that and it falls on Reich.

1. The Colts are cursed in Jacksonville

Life, death, taxes, and the Colts will lose in Jacksonville. That’s the saying, right? It seems like it doesn’t matter whether the Colts or the Jaguars are the better football team. If the game is being played in Florida, the Colts are not going to win. The last time Indianapolis won down there was in 2014.

In fact, most of the games have not been close. The Colts have only been within one score twice during the eight straight losses. Yet, they’ve been blown out 24-0, 26-11, 38-20, 30-10, and 51-16. It’s one of the weirdest things in the NFL because most of those years, the Colts were by far the better team.