The book has been closed on last season for some time. But when a team has an end-of-year collapse as the Colts did in 2021, discussion about it is not just going to go away.
Indianapolis had two weeks to win one game, which would have punched the club’s ticket to the postseason. Instead, the Colts lost to the Raiders at home and played inexplicably poorly in a road loss to the Jaguars in Week 18.
During his Tuesday press conference, Indianapolis defensive lineman DeForest Buckner was asked if the way last season ended impacted the way he thinks about 2022.
“Definitely,” Buckner said. “We shit the bed last year. I mean, excuse my language, but when it came down to it, we needed that win to get into the playoffs and nobody played well. It wasn’t just one person, it was the entire team. And we shot ourselves in the foot. We looked at all the work we’d put in to get back out of the hole early in the year, playing some really good games, competing with the best of them in the league — and beating the best of them in the league. And it came to the point where we needed that one more win and we didn’t come through.
“It was a terrible feeling. And it lingered for a while. Just coming into this offseason, into OTAs, we mentioned it and we put it in the rearview, and just pressed on and moved forward.”
Buckner added that his mentality is to learn from what happened last year but not to dwell on it.
“It’s a learning experience, obviously,” Buckner said. “And like I said, it was definitely a feeling that nobody liked at all. We were excited to get this season going to get away from that feeling.”
The Colts seem like they’re in a position to at least be competitive in the AFC South, if not win the division outright in 2022. But another late-season collapse could prompt team owner Jim Irsay to make some major changes for 2023.