Colts QB Carson Wentz not blaming bout with COVID-19 for slow start in loss to Raiders

Early in Sunday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz looked like a player who missed a week of practice after testing positive for COVID-19.

"Definitely one of the weirdest weeks of my NFL career if not the weirdest," Wentz said following the 23-20 loss, via the Associated Press. "But we're good, locked in the virtual meetings. Just different, wouldn't say that's the reason for the performance or the reason we lost today by any means. Just a strange, strange week."

Wentz, who is unvaccinated, was cleared to play Sunday based on the updated NFL protocols after isolating for five days.

The QB stumbled out of the gate in his return.

"It was a weird flow of the game," Wentz said. "Definitely offensively not our best."

Wentz started the game 0-of-4 passing, including a bad miss. Of his 67 first-half yards, 59 came on the final drive of the second quarter, which ended on a Jonathan Taylor TD run. The veteran signal-caller looked off much of the game, with 45 of his 148 total passing yards coming on a miraculous deflected TD reception by T.Y. Hilton that could have been intercepted.

The rest of the day, Wentz and the offense were an inconsistent mess, putting up just 262 total yards and 16 first downs -- six passing.

"Disappointing loss, really disappointed we didn't do what we had to do in front of our home fans and clinch a spot in the playoffs," coach Frank Reich said.

Neither Wentz nor Reich blamed the poor outing by the QB on the positive COVID-19 test, but it certainly looked like the offense was out of rhythm from start to finish on a day in which the Colts failed to clinch a playoff spot.

"Obviously, it's always great to get every rep you can but at this time of the year, you lean on accumulated reps when you have to," Reich said. "It's not uncommon for players this time of the year to miss a lot of practice time. It happens all over the league at all positions. For all of us, those players, whoever they are, have to find a way to come in and still play well."

Indy currently sits in the No. 6 seed at 9-7, and has a win-and-in scenario in Week 18 against the Jacksonville Jaguars on the road. The Colts held on to beat the Jags 23-17 at home in Week 10, in another game in which Wentz threw for fewer than 200 yards and the offense put up fewer than 300 total yards.

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