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The Indianapolis Colts and owner Jim Irsay haven’t come across luck in a while.
Irsay has yet to stop pinching himself over the Colts’ botched attempt to make the playoffs — sinking the 2021-22 season. Now, the big boss wants the franchise’s direction to hinge on finding their next “winner” — a nod to head coach Frank Reich, general manager Chris Ballard and latest addition to the hot-seat, Carson Wentz, to start implementing a solution, fast.
Facing a win-and-get-in scenario against the league-worst Jaguars (3-14) in Week 18, the Colts (9-8) hopped on their saddle to Jacksonville and returned to Indy empty-handed.
The Colts lost, 26-11, in what Irsay describes as “the worst way” Indy could have ended its year.
“When we started this season 0-3, we knew the rest of this season would be an uphill climb,” Irsay announced, via the Colts’ official Twitter account. “We all were hopeful we could dig our way out of the hole and reach the playoffs, and we should have. But we ended our season in perhaps the worst way possible and missed our chance to compete for history.
“The buck stops with me, and 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.”
Irsay reestablished an itch for the franchise to start appearing deep in the postseason — ramping up expectations for Reich, Ballard and Wentz to perform soon or get canned.
“As always, thank you for your support of the Colts in 2021. This was a rough way to end our year, but this bad taste will fuel and motivate us even more next season. I promise you there are some exciting days to come.”
As relayed by OutKick’s Nick Geddes, Ballard reflected on the season’s regretful ending, speaking with ESPN on Thursday, and sounding shaky in his commitment to ride with Wentz as the starter.
In their vital matchup against Jacksonville, Wentz and the offense tallied only three points in three quarters — still playing from far behind in their eight-point fourth quarter.
“When we made the decision, after Philip [Rivers] retired and we made the decision to make a move on Carson, at the time of the decision we felt good about it and I still don’t regret the decision at the time,” Ballard said. “Sitting here today, just so y’all know, I won’t make a comment on who is going to be here next year and who is not going to be here next year. That’s not fair to any player. …
“Sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. I can dream about it, wish about it, do everything I can to figure out the solution, but you do the best with what you can do at the time.”
Wentz posted 3,563 passing yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela