LAS VEGAS — Weeks after the Colts were named Sam Ehlinger Starting quarterback for the rest of the season, veteran Matt Ryan He returned to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Raiders — the team’s first under interim coach Jeff Saturday.
The Colts moved Ehlinger before Ryan’s Week 8 game against the Washington Chiefs after Ryan suffered a shoulder separation. Then-coach Frank Reich — who was fired Monday and replaced Saturday — said the move was intended to be permanent. Owner Jim Irsay had a big influence on the decision, sources told ESPN.
But Ryan returned to practice this week and seemed to have a change of heart on Saturday. The decision will be made later Saturday, when at his introductory news conference, Ehlinger said he will remain the starting quarterback.
But by Friday, Saturday had started to backfire.
Asked how he made the decision to start Ehlinger on Saturday, he said, “I always evaluate. I tell those guys, this is not a closed tournament by any stretch of the imagination. I put the best 11. So that’s all we can do to win games. They’ve both practiced well. Sam’s a strong guy for a young guy. A lot.” Pop it in. I was so impressed, he was throwing it out.
Asked about his understanding driving the decision, Irsay added Saturday: “It’s my decision to start at quarterback.
The Colts were 0-2 with Ehlinger as their starter. In last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, the Colts had their worst offensive performance in history, going 0-for-14 on third-down attempts and giving up 121 yards of total offense — their fewest since 1997.