INDIANAPOLIS — Can the season just end for the Indianapolis Colts? What’s the point in playing the final two games when they've been like a hamster going around and around on a wheel?
Play a decent first half, don’t make any adjustments at halftime and lose the game. It's a script everybody has seen enough of.
It happened again Thursday night against the Denver Broncos. The Colts went into halftime with a slim lead, but then went on to lose the game, this time 25-13.
The Colts (3-11) close the season at Baltimore on Dec. 23 and at home against Houston on New Year’s Eve, and then owner Jim Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard can begin cleaning house, starting with the coaching staff, and then trying to put a competitive roster together.
There’s been no reason for Irsay and Ballard to waste any time before relieving Chuck Pagano of his coaching duties.
Pagano has continually failed to show that he's capable of keeping his team focused throughout the game and of making proper halftime adjustments.
Opposing teams adjust, and Pagano’s team ends up looking silly while getting blown out in the final 30 minutes. Thursday marked the fifth time the Colts have lost after having a double-digit lead this season, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
No other team has more than two such losses.
The Colts have been outscored 236-94 in the second half of games this season. Part of that is on the players, but a significant portion of the blame belongs to the coaching staff.
Thursday was a new low. It’s not as if the Colts were facing Arizona’s Carson Palmer, Seattle’s Russell Wilson, Tennessee’s Marcus Mariota or Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger, each of whom led a second-half comeback against Indianapolis.
We’re talking about Brock Osweiler.
The same Brock Osweiler who was a flop in Houston last season and couldn’t even make it with quarterback-starved Cleveland earlier this year.
But leave it to the Colts to make Osweiler look like a legitimate quarterback.
He replaced the injured Trevor Siemian (shoulder) in the first quarter and led the Broncos back from a 10-0 deficit by completing 12 of 17 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, and adding a TD on the ground.
The Colts, meanwhile, gained a total of 90 yards in the second half.
Osweiler is now 3-0 against the Colts, having beaten them twice last season in Houston. Not even future first-ballot Hall of Famer Peyton Manning can say he went undefeated against his former team.
It wasn't all bad Thursday. The loss helped the Colts in terms of getting a top-three draft pick. But, unfortunately, they still have at least eight more quarters of football to play this season.