Irsay on Colts’ collapse: ‘Buck stops with me’

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INDIANAPOLIS – Colts owner Jim Irsay issued a statement Wednesday in which he apologized to the fans after the team ended its season “in perhaps the worst possible way and missed our chance to compete for the story.”

Irsay issued the statement a few days after the Colts missed the playoffs for the fifth time in the last seven seasons.

This season’s disappointment could tickle the Irsay and Colts for some time because all they have to do is win one of their last two games to win a playoff spot.

Indianapolis lost at home to the Raiders in Week 17 and embarrassed themselves by losing in Jacksonville to the Jaguars, who will have No. 1 in the draft in April of Week 18.

Irsay met with coach Frank Reich and general manager Chris Ballard at the team’s facility in Indianapolis as soon as they returned from Jacksonville Sunday night.

“I love his approach and how demanding and holding us all accountable, but also showing support as an owner that he wants to do whatever it takes to get our organization to the top, to get our team to the top,” said Reich. “It was a good conversation, a supportive conversation, but also demanding and wanted answers and would hold us accountable.”

The collapse came after the Colts returned from a 0-3 and 1-4 start to the season to put themselves in the playoffs.

“It stops with me and this experience makes me even more determined to bring Indiana to a fighting team,” Irsay wrote. “We are already working towards the future and I will do whatever it takes to put ourselves in a position to win next year and in the years to come.”

Expectations were high for the Colts this season after relinquishing first- and third-round picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Carson Wentz in the offseason.

However, Wentz never found his comfort zone this season. He has thrown for more than 200 yards just twice over the last eight games, questioning whether he is the long-term answer to the position.

“We need to be better in the passing game,” Reich said. “I want to say it anyway, but I just think it was definitely below our standards and there are several reasons for that. We have to take ownership of it as coaches and players.”

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