INDIANAPOLIS --- It was obvious after taking one step inside the Colts locker room. The players knew the ramifications of this game, after losing to the Texas 16-10, and you could see it on their faces.
Yes, the Colts aren't mathematically eliminated, but they knew. Indianapolis likely has to win out now and have Houston lose out to have a chance at the postseason.
"This one hurts, because you know we needed it," said wide receiver T.Y. Hilton after the game. "Here at Lucas Oil (Stadium) with our crowd, you know it's one we had to have. We just didn't get it done."
Given the option of whether he felt sad, angry, or frustrated after the game, tight end Dwayne Allen didn't hesitate.
"Frustrated, that's easy, because I know the talent we have in this locker room and the team we're capable of being,," said Allen. "But week in and week out, we're just not performing up to par."
The Colts led 10-3 at the half but were outscored 13-0 in the 2nd half. Quarterback Matt Hasselbeck played courageously, taking shot after shot to his injured ribs, refusing the stay out of the game. In the end, it wasn't enough.
"10 seasons, man, and every season is different. This one goes up towards the top for me with all the ups and downs, ebbs and flows throughout a game, throughout a season," said inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, who reached his first NFL postseason a year ago with the Colts. "Thank goodness it happened now. I'm more well equipped to deal with it."
"It feels like we lost," said inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman. "It's pretty obvious, man. We came here trying to get us a win to seal the division, but we didn't get that accomplished today."
Right tackle Joe Reitz grew up in Fishers, Indiana just outside Indianapolis. He's lived and died with the Colts his entire life. After this loss, it was hard for him to talk about it.
"It's tough. That's a tough one," said Reitz. "We knew what was on the line, and Houston outplayed us today."