Of all the lessons the Indianapolis Colts have learned the past two weeks, the most valuable — and painful — has to do with time.
Specifically, they discovered games are not officially over until, well, they’re over.
A second-half letdown in Week 2 nearly cost them against the Minnesota Vikings. A last-minute breakdown in Week 3 did cost them against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Maintaining focus and playing with an edge from start to finish no doubt will be a point of emphasis during the bye week. The Colts are idle until Oct. 7, when they play host to the Green Bay Packers.
“We just have to finish. The last two games, we hadn’t finished the way we should,” veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne said. “We just have to learn how to finish, plain and simple.”
Two weeks ago, the Colts took a 20-3 lead into the fourth quarter against visiting Minnesota then needed a last-second 53-yard Adam Vinatieri field goal to hang on for a 23-20 win.
Still fresh in the minds of players, coaches and fans alike is Sunday’s stunning home loss against AFC South rival Jacksonville. The Colts, who had led, 14-3, at halftime, managed only three second-half points and succumbed, 22-17, after surrendering an 80-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds to play.
The principal lesson? Don’t stop until the final tick expires.