OAKLAND – With playoff hopes still alive when things kicked off on Saturday, the Colts squandered one final opportunity.
Scoring touchdowns on five straight drives, the Oakland Raiders were dominant in their 33-25 victory over the Colts.
The loss sealed the playoff fate for the Colts. They will now be watching the postseason for a second straight season.
"We failed," Andrew Luck said bluntly after the team's loss. "I feel like I failed. Some really disappointed guys in that locker room.
"We did have an opportunity and we didn't take advantage of it. Unfortunately, that's been the case too many times this year."
Chuck Pagano said his team was "beat soundly" in every part of the game.
The Raiders five-touchdown run that spanned the second and third quarters included a balanced offensive attack, taking full advantage of three Colts' turnovers.
Luck was responsible for two of those giveaways.
A pair of first-half interceptions (the second of which Luck labeled as "bad on all levels") led right into 13 points for the Raiders.
From there, the Colts were playing catch up the rest of the way.
Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum
"Really no one else to blame but me (on the turnovers)," Luck said after the Colts saw their playoff hopes vanished.
"We knew they were really good, (No. 1 in the NFL in turnover margin). It was a focus and obviously we failed in that department."
While the Raiders' offensive balance was impressive, their ground game was especially gashing.
Oakland's yards per carry hovered above seven yards for much of the day. They finished the afternoon with 37 carries for 210 yards.
"We didn't execute," Pagano said of the issues in stopping the run.
"We didn't have any answers. That falls on me."
Coming into Sunday, the Colts had allowed just two touchdowns in their three previous games.
But playing one of the league's better offenses, the defense could not get the necessary stops while the offense committed three extremely untimely turnovers, leading directly to 20 points.
The inconsistencies that showed itself again on Saturday are why the Colts will be seeing their off-season vacation start earlier than they had hoped.
A silent vising locker afterwards was hit with the harsh reality that the extra lives they had coming into Week 16 were now gone.
"It's not what playing for the horseshoe is all about," Luck said of missing the playoffs in consecutive years. "Not that the playoffs are the ultimate goal every year---we know what the ultimate goal is. But to get there you gotta get to the playoffs.
"That's the standard many guys set long before I joined this club. And like many guys in that (locker) room, we feel responsible for not making it."