Things were actually going quite favorably for Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts before Week 8. They had rattled off back-to-back wins against the Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers, and Wentz was playing some of his best football post-2017.
It was all lining up for a massive Week 8 showdown between the Colts and the Tennessee Titans. The Titans had already beat the Colts once this season, so Indianapolis desperately needed to even things up. The game was also being played in Indy — just another reason Wentz and company needed to secure the victory.
The Colts nearly walked out victorious. However, they ultimately failed to secure the win thanks to some mind-boggling plays from Wentz under center.
Carson Wentz’ mental mistakes are still hurting the Colts
The Colts came storming out of the gate against Tennessee. Wentz and Michael Pitmman Jr. connected for two quick touchdowns, and Indy managed to hold onto the lead heading into halftime.
By the time the closing moments came rolling around, Wentz and the Colts had an opportunity to walk it off with a game-winning drive — at home, against a division rival. It was a perfect scenario for an organization looking to build momentum.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, said walk-off win did not occur. Wentz threw a pick-six while falling back into his own end zone, giving the Titans a seven-point lead with mere moments left in the game. The Colts quickly responded with a TD of their own to send the game into overtime. However, they bottled the chance to win it in regular time.
In overtime, a similar outcome occurred. After the Colts and Titans traded scoreless drives, Wentz threw a head-scratching ball into triple coverage. The pass was intercepted and returned deep into Colts territory, setting up Tennesse for the game-winning field goal.
Wentz got away with his first interception but wasn’t so lucky the second time.
Stephen A. Smith blasts Carson Wentz for his ‘idiotic’ play
Following the Colts’ heartbreaking loss, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith didn’t hold back with his criticism on First Take.
“I’m done with Carson Wentz,” said an exasperated Smith.
He also highlighted that he doesn’t think Wentz is an idiot, but he’s too prone to the odd idiotic play. Smith said Wentz has too many instances during his career where he has to walk into the locker room afterward, holding most of the blame for a loss.
It was harsh criticism for a player who’s primarily performed well this season. However, Smith makes valid points. The Colts would have beaten the Titans had Wentz taken his check downs late in the game instead of trying to play the hero.
Can the Colts rebound moving forward?
Despite their 3-5 record, the Colts aren’t entirely out of the postseason race. They have games against the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars next, and the Titans are expected to be without star running back Derrick Henry for the remainder of the season.
However, the Wentz dilemma needs fixing. He’s a good quarterback when under control. The issue is getting him to play under control.
Most of the responsibility falls on Wentz. He needs to do a better job staying calm during the intense moments of the game. However, Colts head coach Frank Reich plays a role in all this too. He needs to do a better job simplifying the playbook in the fourth quarter. Too often has he abandoned the run late in favor of Wentz airing it out.
Regardless, Wentz can add Stephen A. Smith to the long list of doubters he has to prove wrong moving forward.