Last week, the Indianapolis Colts were on the wrong end of the largest comeback in NFL history. And this week, the team has decided to make its third quarterback change of their disappointing season.
Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles is set to take over for former NFL MVP Matt Ryan.
Interim head coach Jeff Saturday said the decision to bench Ryan for the second time this season was partially based on Ryan’s performance in the second half of the unprecedented collapse in Week 15.
“Just didn’t feel like we made enough plays offensively,” Saturday told reporters. “It’s no secret. We haven’t converted in the red zone. And ultimately you’ve gotta make plays in the NFL and we’re not making nearly enough explosive plays.”
The Colts (4-9-1) have dropped four straight contests and have three games remaining this season. Ryan was under center for the team’s first seven games this year before he was benched in favor of Sam Ehlinger, a 2021 sixth-round draft selection.
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Shortly after team owner Jim Irsay elected to hire Saturday, Ryan was reinstated as the Colts’ starter.
Ryan had one of his better outings of the season in his first game with Saturday, completing 21 of his 28 passes for 222 yards. He led the Colts to a 25-20 comeback win over the Raiders.
This week’s game will be Foles’ first shot at the starting role this season.
“I think with my career path, if you always expect something, it’s just going to throw you for a loop – especially here,” Foles said. “You never know what’s going to happen each week.”
Throughout his career, Foles has always seemed prepared to step into a starting role.
The highlight of his career came in 2017 when he was thrust into the starting position after Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending injury. Foles quarterbacked the team to its first Super Bowl title in franchise history.
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Meanwhile, Ryan has certainly not experienced the career revitalization he was hoping for when he arrived in Indy.
He joined the Colts after an offseason trade with the Falcons. Indianapolis sent a third-round draft pick to Atlanta in exchange for the longtime starting quarterback’s services.
The Colts have been searching for a quarterback to bring stability to the franchise ever since the early retirement of former No. 1 pick Andrew Luck prior to the start of the 2019 season.
Ryan believed he was joining a roster that was ready for a deep playoff run this year, however the Colts have been one of the worst offenses in the league. The veteran quarterback has been a large part of those issues and leads the NFL with his 13 interceptions.
“From a player perspective, it’s hard,” Saturday said. “And when you want to be performing at a level and it’s not getting there, it’s devastating for players. But here’s the reality: We all come to that point. And you hate that. That’s where it is.
“But again, Matt has no back down, man. Had Matt been the guy, he’d be out there fighting each and every day doing exactly what he’s supposed to do.”
The Colts have had a turbulent season, from the firing of its offense coordinator and head coach Frank Reich to several quarterback changes.
The team sits in the third spot in the AFC South and will have to address a long list of issues with the roster during the offseason. The Colts play the Chargers on Dec. 26.
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