Monday night's thrashing at the hands of the NFC South champion New Orleans Saints ensured that last season's wild-card upstart wouldn't be replicating such a run to the postseason. For Frank Reich's Colts, it's a moment that feels rather important for the long-term future of the franchise, even with 2019 essentially finished.
These things happen sometimes -- a team cruising into the playoffs and firing on all cylinders rolls over a squad with little more than a pipe dream of hope left to make the postseason. Sometimes, all they need is that one finishing move to send them into the offseason.
After starting 5-2, the Colts have won just once. They're currently mired in a four-game losing streak, and with little to play for, it's fair to wonder what team will show up for the home finale next week against Carolina before flying to Jacksonville for a game between two teams that would like to forget most of 2019.
At least they have young, key pieces in place at most positions. If anything, this slide helped expose where the Colts need help: in the training room.
Jacoby Brissett was forced to spend a season he didn't know he'd play as the starter with a stable of receivers who were banged up or unavailable altogether. Indianapolis spent a second-round pick on Parris Campbell, but he was hampered by injuries, as was veteran T.Y. Hilton. There's also that kicking situation, which is very unstable at this point.
All of this should affect how folks judge the play of Brissett, who hasn't looked anything like the future face the team thought it might have. The Colts definitely need a reset of their overall record and time to get healthy before running it back, but now isn't the time to jettison Brissett for the newest popular face.
The hope, then, is Reich's crew spends the rest of 2019 taking a long, hard look at itself before entering the offseason bent on again finding its inner beast that rolled to the Divisional Round last season.
"This sucks. I want this taste out of my mouth. I don't want this feeling ever again," linebacker Darius Leonard said, again via The Athletic.
"It's gonna make the offseason all that easier. You're losing ... that's an extra edge. Who loves to lose? Nobody. It's not gonna be hard in the offseason to say, 'OK, what do I gotta do to get better at?' Because you're losing ballgames. Last year, we're coming off a hot streak and lost in the second round. And now, we're not gonna be in the playoffs, and it sucks."