Frank Reich is unwilling to blame Carson Wentz for the Colts’ failure to make the postseason, nor is he willing to give up the veteran quarterback.
Reich told reporters after the Colts’ 26-11 loss to the Jaguars that Wentz “did a lot” during the season and that he expected Wentz to be the team’s starter going forward.
“I think he’s our quarterback.” Reich said in his post-match press conference. “I think we’re all going to learn and grow from this year. You know, how to use each player that we have to the fullest. I think there were a lot of bright moments for Carson.”
Those “bright moments” were few and far between in Week 18. Wentz and Indy’s offense couldn’t get going, scoring just three points in their first eight series. He committed two critical turnovers, a fumble and an interception, which led the Jaguars to 10 points.
Wentz finished Day 17 of 29 for 185 yards, a touchdown and two turnovers. He was also sacked six times, the season-high, against a Jaguars defense that averaged the third-fewest sacks per game in the NFL.
“Sucked, honestly. I’m a little disbelieving,” Wentz said after the loss. by Taylor Tannebaum from WTHR television station in Indianapolis. “It’s hard to fully reflect on everything right now, it happened so fast. It hurts right now. Lots of thought to come.”
Wentz thinks he has time to reflect. According to Spotrac.com, will count $ 28.3 million against the Colts’ salary cap ($ 15 million in dead money) next season under the $ 128 million contract extension he signed in 2019.
The Colts were expected to have no trouble beating the Jaguars. Jacksonville entered the game 2-14, the worst in the NFL, and many of its fans planned wear clown costumes to protest the leadership of the team under owner Shad Khan. The Jaguars were also on an eight-game losing streak and had an interim head coach, Darrell Bevell, leading them.
Instead, the Colts (9-8) failed to take their easy path to the postseason and were eliminated after the Steelers beat the Ravens in overtime.
“It’s a bad feeling when you know you were in total control,” Wentz said of missing the playoffs. “It’s a bad, bad feeling.”
The Colts have had that feeling before in Jacksonville. They haven’t beaten the Jaguars away from Indy since 2014. They are 0-5 in Jacksonville and 0-1 in London against their divisional rival. Perhaps most incredible, the Jaguars have won just five of their last 34 games; They are 3-2 against the Colts and 2-27 against all other teams.
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As painful as this loss is for the Colts, Reich hopes the team can learn from it in 2022.
“You have to have the maturity to understand that although there may be a purpose for this season, you cannot just leave [this loss] be in vain, “he said.” You have to learn from that and come to find out, ‘OK, why did we end up the way we did this year?’ And then let’s not let that happen next year. “