Colts’ season ends with brutal final drive after controversial Zach Pascal play

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27: Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 27: Zach Pascal #14 of the Indianapolis Colts (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

The Colts have lost their Wild Card Weekend game in Buffalo after a terrible final drive.

Philip Rivers with the ball, down three, just about 2:30 on the clock…yeah, every Indianapolis Colts fan on earth knew they were about to learn a particularly harsh lesson.

A lesson that national football audiences have learned repeatedly throughout the gunslinger’s NFL career.

Need someone to guide you to an above-average regular season and put up solid numbers, whether he’s protected in the pocket or not? Sure. Rivers is your man. Need a quarterback to guide a special comeback on one final drive? Not going to be Rivers, especially not at his advanced age.

Without the requisite zip on the ball, Rivers finished this contest without throwing a back-breaking pick, but without a victory in tow, either.

Of course, the drive nearly ended before Rivers even had a chance to putter out on his own when Zach Pascal caught a fourth-down heave with 30 seconds remaining, reestablished himself as a runner, then coughed the rolling football up into the hands of the Bills’ defense.

Against all odds, the call on the field stood (!), saving Pascal from a lifetime of paying extra for drinks around Lucas Oil Stadium.

That put just one set of downs’ worth of seconds on the clock with Rivers still hanging around midfield, and we all knew that Buffalo’s defense wasn’t about to let the old man slip through the cracks again.

Bemoan Rodrigo Blankenship’s missed kick. Bemoan the fourth-down throw to Michael Pittman Jr. at the goal line earlier in the game, eschewing a field goal attempt. Whatever it was you hated from this game, that moment was likely more at fault than Rivers’ final feckless drive.

When Rivers hucked a last-ditch Hail Mary five yards shy of the end zone, the season — and possibly his Colts career — was truly over.

No amount of luck on the Pascal call could save Indy this time from their extremely well-earned fate.

A win was squandered away on Saturday in Orchard Park, and it had very little to do with the depressing final few minutes of this contest — though we can guarantee this falls on Rivers’ shoulders (and Rivers doesn’t exactly deserve praise, either).