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Matt Ryan’s brutal showing is the end of the line for the Indianapolis Colts

Veteran quarterback Matt Ryan and the Indianapolis Colts entered Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys at 4-7-1 and without much hope of climbing into the AFC Playoff race.

At least initially, it seemed as if Indianapolis came to play on national television. The team found itself up 10-3 after the first quarter and within 21-19 late in the third quarter.

That’s when everything changed for Ryan and Co. They committed four consecutive turnovers to open the fourth quarter, leading to four Cowboys touchdowns. In fact, Dallas scored three touchdowns within the first 5:14 of the final stanza. It then scored a fourth touchdown on an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown run following Ryan’s third interception of the game.

As you can see, Ryan was visibly frustrated following that last turnover. He just didn’t seem to have it at any point in Big D Sunday night.

If that weren’t enough, Ryan then lost a fumble on the Colts’ next possession — giving the Cowoys 33 unanswered points in the fourth quarter alone.

Jeff Saturday has been a feel-good story in Indianapolis after replacing the recently-fired Frank Reich as its head coach. But that changed on a dime as the Colts were absolutely humiliated for the entire NFL world to see Sunday evening in Dallas.

Indianapolis now founds itself at 4-8-1 and three games behind the New York Jets in the win column for the final AFC Wild Card spot. In short, this season is over for the Colts following a 54-19 loss to Dallas.

Related: Matt Ryan and NFL’s highest-paid QBs of 2022

Time for the Indianapolis Colts to end the Matt Ryan era

matt ryan, indianapolis colts
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

It was back in Week 8 that Ryan found himself benched in favor of Sam Ehlinger. It was Reich’s final decision as the Colts’ head coach. Once he took over on an interim basis, Saturday opted to go back to Ryan under center.

Following a surprising Week 10 win over the Las Vegas Raiders, the Colts head into their Week 14 bye having lost three consecutive games. Sure close defeats at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles and Pittsburgh Steelers heading into Sunday night painted this team in a good light. But what we saw in the fourth quarter against Dallas writes the remainder of this story.

It’s high time for the Indianapolis Colts to move off Ryan and go with Ehlinger for the remainder of the season. The idea here has to be to tank for the best possible pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. Saturday and Co. should also want to get a first-hand view of Ehlinger as a way to figure out whether he has a future on the roster.

  • Matt Ryan contract: 5 years, $130 million; $35.2 million cap hit in 2023

Indianapolis can move off Ryan following the 2022 season while saving north of $17 million against the cap. The former NFL MVP has proven that he simply doesn’t have it any more. Continuing to start him would prove futile for the downtrodden Colts moving forward. It’s that simple.