Colts’ second-half performance is becoming a serious problem in 2021

Carson Wentz #2 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Carson Wentz #2 of the Indianapolis Colts reacts during the second quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts are back to .500. They’re 5-5 after two straight victories over the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars, but both of those contests highlighted an ongoing problem for Indy this year.

This team cannot perform in the second half. No matter the stakes. And it’s something that could officially do them in over the next few weeks.

On Sunday against the Jaguars, the Colts were outscored 8-3 in the final two quarters and barely edged their lowly division rival by a score of 23-17 … after leading 17-0. What problems are contributing to this, though? Can we put a finger on it?

The answer is yes, but it’s not encouraging. Every facet of the team has faltered once the third quarter begins. Three times they’ve been outscored in the second half have directly led to losses (Tennessee twice and Baltimore). The other two came in wins over the Jets and Jags. The other was a Week 1 loss to the Seahawks that was never close.

The times they outscored opponents? The loss to the Rams in Week 2, the blowout win over the Texans, the rain-soaked 49ers game, and the win over the lowly Dolphins. That’s not enough to convince anybody that they’re going to break this trend.

Why are the Colts so bad in the second half this season?

Why did Jonathan Taylor only receive eight carries in the second half? He had 13 for 87 yards in the first. His next nine carries generated 29 yards, so it’s clear the Jaguars neutralized him a bit, but then explain to us why Michael Pittman had just five catches (two of which came in the second half) and Nyheim Hines had four total touches in the game!

And that was just today.

Last week against the Jets, the defense allowed 20 second-half points to quarterback Josh Johnson. The Titans scored 20 themselves to walk-off the Colts in overtime the week prior. The Ravens put up 28 to do the same a month ago. On Sunday, the unit allowed a touchdown and two-point conversion to make it a three-point game and continued to make it difficult before a strip-sack of Lawrence ended the game as Jacksonville was driving in an attempt to score the game-winning touchdown.

This seems like the coaches and players need to get on the same page. Execution is on the players, but what’s the excuse for not getting the ball into said players’ hands? Barely over 10 touches for Taylor, Pittman and Hines in the final 30 minutes simply cannot happen, regardless of the opponent. The defense? Seems like a combination of Matt Eberflus’ play calling and Indy’s star figures disappearing (or perhaps not being emphasized enough in said play calling).

No matter the reason, it needs to be figured out as soon as next week, because a second-half collapse, should they be leading, against the Bills or Bucs, would be a back-breaker. The Colts have the talent to stick around with some of the best teams. They need to stop shooting themselves in the foot.