The Indianapolis Colts were abysmal in 2022 but were competitive against the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles who are in the Super Bowl.
The stage is set for Super Bowl 57. The Philadelphia Eagles will be taking on the Kansas City Chiefs to see which franchise will be the last team standing for the 2022 season. Many would argue that the Eagles and Chiefs are actually the two best teams. Both with 14-3 regular seasons, they have the league’s best records and were also the No. 1 seeds in their respective conferences. However, these two top teams have something else in common, they were both in a nail-bitingly close game with one of the worst teams in the league this season, the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts finished the 2022 season at 4-12-1 and were nowhere near the postseason. The only good thing about this season for Indianapolis is that it has the No. 4 overall pick but that’s because Indy has the fourth-worst record in the league. Despite Indy’s record, the Colts were one of the toughest games for both of the teams competing in the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis wasn’t just a tough game for the Chiefs, Indy actually handed Kansas City one of its three losses. In Week 3, the Chiefs strolled into Lucas Oil Stadium at 2-0 and the Colts were just 0-1-1. However, Indianapolis won the game 20-17 thanks to an elite performance from Stephon Gilmore and a controversial penalty by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Chris Jones. Considering the direction of both teams after this game, the result left people scratching their heads all season.
In Week 11, the Colts almost pulled off another upset, this time against the Eagles. By this point in the season, Frank Reich was already fired and Jeff Saturday was 1-0 as an interim head coach. Indy was 3-6-1 and Philly was 8-1. However, the game came down to the last play. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts ultimately ran in the game-winning touchdown with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter, helping Philadelphia escape with a 17-16 win.
Based on how the two Super Bowl teams fared against the Colts, many have recently joked that Indianapolis is the third-best team in the league, or better yet, the actual best team in all of football. While we know that that isn’t the truth, what should be made of Indy’s performances against these top two teams? Is this just an example of the mantra any given Sunday or does this highlight something bigger about the Colts? Probably the latter.
How close are Colts to the Chiefs and Eagles?
This is the NFL and weird outcomes happen all the time. The Chiefs also went to overtime with the Houston Texans and just barely escaped with a victory. The Eagles played quite a few close games with inferior opponents and their first loss came against the Washington Commanders. It’s hard to win in the NFL, every team has elite players, and anything really can happen on any given game day. However, Indy’s performances in these games really reflect how confusing of a team they were this past season.
At 4-12-1, the Colts were definitely a bad team, and they had some serious issues offensively, specifically offensive line play and ball security. However, Indianapolis isn’t all that far from being a competent team again and that was evident in a lot of the games Indianapolis played. For the most part, a lot of the Colts games in 2022 were competitive but they just always found a way to do something bizarre that led to losing. That was best exemplified in the two-week stretch when Indy played the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings. What looked like a competitive game and a convincing win turned into two of the most embarrassing losses in NFL history.
Looking at some of the close games Indy didn’t win this past season and it’s evident the Colts could’ve reasonably been an eight-win team, maybe even more. That’s with all of the on-field issues they had and all of the chaotic change that went on during the season. However, it’s probably better for the future of the franchise that Indy didn’t pull out those games. A four-win season not only gave the Colts a top-four draft pick but it forced the team to do a hard reset and address obvious problem areas instead of trying to band-aid the issues holding Indy back. With the right moves this offseason, Indianapolis could actually be back in the conversation of the best teams in the league, and not just in theory based on how they played against those teams.