The Indianapolis Colts are benching starter Matt Ryan and will turn to former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles on Monday night at home against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Interim head coach Jeff Saturday announced his decision on Wednesday. The move comes after the Colts squandered a 33-0 halftime lead in Week 15 and lost in overtime to the Minnesota Vikings.
While he isn’t putting the offensive woes of the Colts (4-9-1) only on Ryan, Saturday said a change is warranted.
“I feel like Nick will give us a better chance to win these last three games,” Saturday said.
Still, he said the Colts starting quarterback will be decided week-by-week as Indianapolis closes the season against the Chargers, at the New York Giants on Jan. 1 and at home against the Houston Texans on Jan. 8.
Saturday said the coaching staff had yet to choose between Ryan or Sam Ehlinger as the backup to Foles.
Foles, 33, has appeared in just one game this season, taking two snaps. He hasn’t attempted a pass.
Subbing for an injured Carson Wentz, Foles led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 41-33 win over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII and was named the game’s most valuable player.
The Colts are Foles’ sixth team since the Eagles selected him in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He is 29-27 as a starter and has 14,003 passing yards with 82 touchdowns and 43 interceptions. He signed with the Colts as a free agent in the offseason.
Indianapolis acquired Ryan in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason, hoping he’d lead what was perceived as a playoff-ready team deep into the postseason. Instead, he’s being benched for the second time this season.
Former coach Frank Reich announced on Oct. 24 that Ehlinger would start the rest of the season, but that didn’t last long. Reich was fired Nov. 7, and Saturday put Ryan back in the starting lineup.
In the epic 39-36 loss to the Vikings, Ryan threw for 117 yards in the first half but only 55 in the second half and overtime.
The No. 3 overall pick by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2008 draft, Ryan is 4-7-1 as a starter this season. He has completed 67.0 percent of his passes this season for 3,057 yards with 14 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Now 37, Ryan was the league MVP in 2016 with the Falcons. He is in the fourth year of a five-year, $150 million deal he signed with Atlanta and is being paid $24.7 million, per Spotrac.
–Field Level Media