Saturday’s game was the perfect example of expectations vs. reality for the Colts this season
The Week 15 game between the Indianapolis Colts and the Minnesota Vikings was a tale of two halves: expectations vs. reality.
If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve surely encountered an expectations vs. reality meme. On one side of the meme is what you expect, something impressive and desirable. On the other side of the meme is what you get in reality, something underwhelming that you could do without. On Saturday, that meme was manifested by the Indianapolis Colts in their game against the Minnesota Vikings.
The game that will now be remembered as the greatest comeback in NFL history was a story of two halves, and each half had a clear plot. The first half was about the expectations of the 2022 Colts and the second half was about the reality of the 2022 Colts. As a complete game, it was the perfect representation of 2022 for Indianapolis.
Colts’ 2022 expectations
Entering this season, Indianapolis was expected to be a contender. It was believed the team would reach this status behind a strong run game, a game-managing quarterback, and a disciplined and turnover-hungry defense and special teams. That’s the team that showed up in the first half against the Vikings.
Indy’s special teams got things started with a blocked punt for a touchdown, then the defense forced a fumble and gave the ball to the offense. Indianapolis’ offense was able to run and pass the ball to score a touchdown and several field goals in the first half. The defense even helped with the scoring thanks to a pick-six from Julian Blackmon.
With everything going in the Colts’ favor, they entered the half up 33-0 after looking like the team everyone expected them to be. Then reality set in.
Colts’ 2022 reality
The reality for Indianapolis is that it’s a team with an inconsistent offense, a struggling offensive line, and a defense that deteriorates throughout a game. All of those factors showed up for the Colts in the second half and that is why Indianapolis ultimately blew the 33-point lead.
The offense couldn’t sustain many drives and only put three additional points on the board and the defense lost all of its juice, getting driven down the field several times as Minnesota scored 39 total points in the second half and overtime combined. The reason this is Indy’s reality is that it’s the team that has been more present this season.
The Colts have had several moments where they look like the team they were in the first half of Saturday’s game, the team they were expected to be. However, they always come back down to reality and look like the version from Saturday’s second half. That’s why Indy is 4-9-1 and heading toward a top-five pick in the draft.
This coming offseason, Indianapolis’ expectations will certainly be tapered. The team will have to prove themselves to be contenders. If the Colts can do that, their reality next season will be better than their expectations.