There are always a number of talented teams with high expectations. But these five NFL clubs wound up falling short of various positive predictions.
This season, seven teams that reached the playoffs in 2020 failed to qualify for the postseason. That’s somewhat typical of the year-to-year nature of today’s NFL. Conversely, three clubs that finished in last place in the NFL a year ago reached the playoffs. And the Cincinnati Bengals, basement dwellers in the AFC North in ‘20, will play in Super Bowl LVI.
Disappointment is certainly a subjective word. And you could possibly list more than half of the league any year in this regard. But the list has been narrowed down to five teams. You could make a case for the Los Angeles Chargers, Miami Dolphins, and Minnesota Vikings making this list for numerous reasons.
And such is the case for these five franchises, who came up a bit short of expectations and each with their own set of circumstances.
NOTE: Win-loss records include playoffs
Which NFL teams were the most disappointing in 2021?
Disappointing NFL team #5. Indianapolis Colts (9-8)
At times, Frank Reich’s team looks as good as any club in the AFC. After an 0-3 start, the Indianapolis Colts would win nine of their next 12 games.
Second-year running back Jonathan Taylor led the league in rushing yards (1,811) and total yards from scrimmage (2,171). He and Chargers’ running back Austin Ekeler both scored an NFL-high 20 total touchdowns.
While quarterback Carson Wentz did cut back on his turnovers from his last season with the Eagles, a few of his miscues came at the worst of times.
Meanwhile, an Indianapolis defense loaded with talent in the form of linebacker Darius Leonard, cornerback Kenny Moore II, and interior presence DeForest Buckner didn’t always play up to standards. The Colts did finish with 33 takeaways, second-most in the league behind only the Dallas Cowboys (34).
Indianapolis owned a 9-6 record with two games to play and appeared to be on the verge of returning to the NFL playoffs for the third time in four years. But the team collapsed down the stretch at home against the Raiders, were a no-show at Jacksonville (again) in the season finale, and wound up missing out on a postseason berth.