Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has struggled to win close games in his career

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  • Carson Wentz
    Carson Wentz
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When general manager Chris Ballard was listing the Colts' flaws in his annual season wrap-up news conference Thursday, one statistic he mentioned didn't draw a lot of attention.

"We finished 2-5 in one-score games," Ballard said. "A little bit of that is random when you look at the history of it but you've got to finish with a better record in one-score games."

Ballard is correct. Luck plays a bigger role in close games — a bad bounce can have a more direct impact on the final score — adding noise to the statistic.

But winning one-score games has been an issue for Colts quarterback Carson Wentz during his career.

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Adam Gotsis (96) tackles Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) during the second quarter of the game on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Adam Gotsis (96) tackles Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz (2) during the second quarter of the game on Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fla.

Let's get a few more caveats out of the way:

► Quarterback wins is a flawed statistic.

► There are a lot of reasons a team loses a close game and it's unfair to put it all on the quarterback.

But since Wentz entered the NFL in 2016, he's 17-25-1 in games decided by 8 points or less, a .407 winning percentage. Only three of the top 25 quarterbacks in passing yards have been worse: Jameis Winston (.378), Andy Dalton (.371) and Joe Flacco (.300).

On the list of quarterbacks with the worst differential between their record in one-score games and other games are three from very successful teams — successful teams win more blowouts, creating the differential — in Patrick Mahomes (.667 and .933), Drew Brees (.543, .829) and Josh Allen (.462, .794); Wentz (.407, .643) and Flacco (.300, .583) fill out the bottom five.

Wentz is sharing more time on these lists with late-career Joe Flacco than you'd like.

Again, don't put the Colts' close losses solely on Wentz. He was injured at the end of a 27-24 loss to the Los Angeles Rams and the defense and kicking game collapsed in a 31-25 overtime loss to Baltimore. But Wentz played a role in the other three losses:

► After leading the Colts on a tying touchdown drive against Tennessee, he went three-and-out on the first overtime drive then threw a back-breaking interception to set up the Titans' winning field goal.

► Wentz turned the ball over three times in a 38-31 loss to Tampa Bay, failing to deliver when the the Colts called 26 consecutive pass play late in the game.

► Wentz threw for just 148 yards in a 23-20 loss to Las Vegas when a victory would have put the Colts in the playoffs.

We also can't overlook the incredible winning touchdown pass he threw to Dezmon Patmon in a 22-16 victory over Arizona. The Colts also had a 23-17 victory over Jacksonville led by running back Jonathan Taylor in which Wentz had little impact on the final result.

In his career, Wentz has a 77.6 passer rating in the last 4 minutes of one-score games. While that doesn't sound good, he ranks 24th of 47 quarterbacks to attempt at least 40 passes in those situations — pretty much exactly average. He's completed 91-of-162 passes — 56.2% — with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in those situations.

Aaron Rodgers has just an 82.2 passer rating in this situation but the top quarterbacks do tend to be at the top of this list. No. 1? Andrew Luck with a passer rating of 114.1.

Contact IndyStar Deputy Sports Editor Nat Newell at (317) 444-6182 or nat.newell@indystar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NatJNewell.

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: Colts quarterback Carson Wentz has struggled to win close games

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