The Indianapolis Colts have seen enough turnovers since Matt Ryan.
The Colts are benching starting quarterback Sam Ellinger this week against the Washington Commanders, coach Frank Reich announced Monday.
“We’re going to make a significant change to the starting lineup,” Reich said. “We’re going to elevate Sam to be the starting quarterback.” An extremely difficult decision, obviously, given the respect and admiration we have for Matt Ryan and what he’s done and what he’s brought here. He is a professional. This guy is special, special, special.”
Reich noted that Ryan is dealing with a Grade 2 shoulder separation, and Nick Foles will be the No. 2 KB this week. But Reich added that the KB change would be made regardless of the caller’s injury status.
The plan is for Ehlinger to start the rest of the season.
“I’m excited for Sam and the opportunities this presents for him,” Reich said. “We’ve always thought from day one that Sam has some kind of special sauce. He’s continued to show that. I’ve been particularly impressed with Sam this year in practice. When the season started, the look he gives the scout team, the quality of his throws, the way he commands myself, the complete package. I just feel like, at this point, it’s the best decision for our team going forward.”
That’s a stunning drop after the Colts acquired Ryan in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons this offseason. Indy had the pomp and circumstance of the trade, and the club believed he was an upgrade on Carson Wentz and the final piece of a playoff team.
Through seven weeks, it’s another swing for general manager Chris Ballard, who has been unable to stabilize KB’s position in India since Andrew Luck retired in 2019.
Ryan has struggled behind a flawed offensive line for the Colts’ 3-3-1 this season. He completed 68.4 percent of his passes for 2,008 yards with nine touchdowns and a league-high nine interceptions. Ryan fumbled 11 times, losing three. He’s also been sacked 24 times, tied for the most in the NFL entering Monday night.
In Sunday’s loss to rival Tennessee, Ryan threw two brutal interceptions, including a game-changing pick-six.
“Our poor play on offense is not on one person – it’s not on Matt Ryan – but we also know, as Matt and I have talked about it, as a head coach and quarterback. As a head coach, at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter, Judge me by wins and losses,” Reich said. “The quarterback is judged by points and production and turnovers. We understand that’s how it is in this league.”