Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts entered Sunday’s game against the first-place Tennessee Titans with an opportunity to even their record at 4-4. Indianapolis had won three of its past four after an 0-3 start to the campaign.
Meanwhile, Wentz himself had been absolutely stellar through the first seven games of his Colts career after being acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles in an off-season trade. That included the former Pro Bowler completing 64% of his passes with 11 touchdowns against one interception. Remember, Wentz tied for the league lead in interceptions with 15 a season ago.
For Indianapolis, Week 8’s outing offered the team an opportunity to prove a point against a Titans squad that was coming off consecutive wins over AFC contenders in that of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.
At least initially, it looked darn good for Carson Wentz and his team. The quarterback led Indy on two touchdown-scoring drives to open the game, both culminating in a score to Michael Pittman Jr.
Unfortunately, the was pretty much the end of the good news. Wentz reverted to earlier-career form in the fourth quarter and overtime, tossing two untimely interceptions. The first one was a pick-six from the shadow of his own goal line late in the fourth quarter that gave Tennessee a 31-24 lead.
While Wentz would ultimately lead Indianapolis to a five-play, 75-yard touchdown scoring drive immediately after throwing the pick-six, it was his mistake on overtime that sent Indianapolis to a crushing 34-31 home loss.
Again targeting Pittman Jr., Wentz was picked off by star Titans safety Kevin Byard on a deep pass with 5:48 remaining in the extra stanza. Byard returned the interception to the Colts 32-yard line, setting up the game winning field goal.
Simply put, that’s a mistake a 28-year-old quarterback who is in his sixth NFL season can’t make. Throwing late and to the outside while refusing to look off your No. 1 read. Just an absolutely brutal mistake from Wentz, one that has defined his career up to this point.
Carson Wentz throws Indianapolis Colts season away
It might seem like we’re overreacting here. But that’s just on the surface. Instead of moving to 4-4 on the season and being just one game behind Tennessee in the AFC South, the Colts now find themselves three games back. Talk about a major swing on just one pass.
By virtue of the loss, Indianapolis currently finds itself as the 12th seed in the AFC, two games behind the Pittsburgh Steelers in the loss column for the final wild card spot.
After what should be easy games against the Jets and Jaguars over the next two weeks, Indianapolis must take on the Bills and Buccaneers ahead of a Week 13 outing against the lifeless Houston Texans. This potentially sets Indianapolis up to his its Week 14 bye with a 6-7 record , a mark that isn’t indicative of playoff contention.
From a broader perspective, Indianapolis’ success this season will play a role in what happens during the 2022 NFL Draft. Right now, the Colts would give up their first-round pick to Philadelphia stemming from the Carson Wentz trade. As it stands, said pick would be in the top 10.
The impact will be felt long after this season and the coming NFL Draft. While Wentz looked darn good during the first seven games of the campaign, his mistake-filled ending to Sunday’s outing will continue to raise questions about the quarterback’s viability as a long-term option in Indianapolis.