The Colts should be kicking themselves after watching Baltimore’s lackluster performance in the Divisional Round.
Since the Indianapolis Colts were eliminated from the playoffs, we’ve spent our time touching on some of their biggest offseason agendas, which include finding a new quarterback if Philip Rivers decides to retire and addressing their laundry list of free agents.
Preparing for the immediate future was probably the best way to cope with Indy’s gutting loss to the Bills in the first round However, we can’t help but feel like they should still be kicking in the postseason after watching Buffalo’s showdown against Baltimore on Saturday.
When all was said and done, we were left with one takeaway: assuming Lamar Jackson was as out of sorts as he was, the Colts would’ve absolutely pummeled the Ravens and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.
Baltimore’s game plan was genuinely confounding as the Bills were clearly prepared for a run-oriented offensive attack, so perhaps they were the victims of their own demise. However, the eye test proved that Jackson didn’t look like himself and the Colts’ defense, which is far superior to Buffalo’s, undoubtedly would’ve been able to rattle him to a similar extent.
The Ravens’ lackluster performance just sheds more light on Indianapolis’ costly blunders in that first-round matchup. From failing to capitalize on numerous commanding drives — most notably head coach Frank Reich’s decision to go for a 4th and goal near the end of the second quarter instead of kicking a field goal to establish a six-point lead — to a missed Rodrigo Blankenship field goal and a horrific offsides penalty to give the Bills a first down on 4th and 3, it’s all just heartbreaking to think about.
You could certainly argue that Rivers missed wideout Michael Pittman Jr. in the corner of the end zone on that 4th and goal play, but the margin of error was so small in that scenario that playing it safe and taking the three points was likely the right call considering Buffalo had zero momentum and just seven points after nearly 30 minutes of play.
On Buffalo’s subsequent possession, defensive end Kemoko Turay fell for the Bills’ attempt to draw somebody offsides (while in field goal range) on 4th and 3 with less than 45 seconds remaining in the second quarter. A few plays later, Josh Allen scampered into the end zone to give the Bills a 14-10 halftime lead and they never looked back.
We hate to further dishearten the fan base, but if the Colts had been more clinical and disciplined in those situations, we can confidently say that they would’ve beaten Baltimore to set up a showdown against Kansas City with a ticket to the Super Bowl on the line.