Jan 1, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Nick Foles (9) is driven off the field after an injury during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Sam Ehlinger named QB1 as Colts fume over celebration

Sam Ehlinger was named the Week 18 starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts in 2022, but that was hardly the main event Monday.

While quarterback Nick Foles (ribs) remains in physical pain and won’t play in the season finale, coach Jeff Saturday is sore at his offensive linemen for not coming to the aid of their fallen signal-caller.

New York Giants rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux celebrated his sack of Foles by doing snow angels right next to a writhing Foles during Sunday’s game, coming in contact with the QB during the display.

Saturday, who was a six-time Pro Bowl center, expressed disappointment on Monday that his linemen didn’t take matters into their own hands. He called Thibodeaux’s celebration “tasteless trash.”

“Disappointed from the O-line perspective and for teammates in general,” Saturday said. “We protect our own.”

As for Foles, Saturday said he’s “really sore … lot of pain” after suffering a rib injury on the hit from Thibodeaux.

While the sack from Foles’ blind side was clean, the Colts took umbrage with the rookie’s celebration while Foles was on the ground in pain.

“Hopefully his teammates will — maybe one day he’ll learn that injuries happen in this league, you never want to happen to the guy that you’re going against,” Colts center Ryan Kelly told reporters after the game. “That’s just horse****.”

Thibodeaux said he didn’t realize Foles was hurt while he was celebrating. A Colts trainer had to step around Thibodeaux and his celebration to tend to Foles.

Ehlinger replaced Foles and threw his first career touchdown in the Colts’ 38-10 loss to the Giants.

Ehlinger, 24, gets the nod for the Colts (4-11-1) against the visiting Houston Texans (2-13-1) and Matt Ryan will be QB2.

Ehlinger lost both of his previous starts against Washington and New England in Weeks 8-9. He has completed 41 of 66 passes for 364 yards this season.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) attempts a pass as Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (91) looks to deflect the play during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Ryan, Colts top Raiders in Jeff Saturday’s coaching debut

Matt Ryan’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Parris Campbell with just over five minutes left rallied the visiting Indianapolis Colts to a 25-20 win over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.

Ryan went 21-for-28 passing for 222 yards with one touchdown passing and one rushing, while Jonathan Taylor rushed for 147 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown, on 22 carries.

Campbell finished with seven receptions for 76 yards as the Colts (4-5-1) ended a three-game losing streak by giving interim coach Jeff Saturday the first win of his coaching career.

Derek Carr went 24-for-38 passing for 248 yards and two touchdowns, while Davante Adams finished with nine receptions for 126 yards for the Raiders (2-7), who dropped their third straight game. Josh Jacobs rushed for 78 yards and a score on 21 carries.

Ryan was playing his first game since injuring his shoulder against the Tennessee Titans on Oct. 23. It was Taylor’s first game after being sidelined with an injured ankle following a loss to the Washington Commanders on Oct. 30.

Trailing 13-7 at halftime, the Raiders took a 14-13 lead on Jacobs’ 1-yard touchdown run with 1:51 left in the third quarter.

The Colts responded two plays later. Taylor broke free for a 66-yard touchdown run, giving Indianapolis a 19-14 lead after a failed two-point conversion with just over a minute left in the third quarter.

The Raiders regained the lead when Carr hit Adams on a 48-yard touchdown for a 20-19 advantage after their own failed two-point conversion with 11:36 left in the game.

Ryan gave the Colts the lead for good when he found Campbell across the middle for a 35-yard touchdown with 5:07 left. They failed to convert on another two-point try.

The Raiders’ final drive ended when Stephon Gilmore broke up Carr’s fourth-down pass intended for Adams in the end zone with 47 seconds left.

The Colts took a 7-0 lead on Ryan’s 1-yard sneak with 3:17 left in the first quarter.

Chase McLaughlin’s 48-yard field goal extended the Colts’ lead to 10-0 with 12:38 left in the second quarter.

The Raiders pulled to within 10-7 when Foster Moreau made a diving catch in the end zone to snare Carr’s 4-yard pass with 58 seconds left in the half.

McLaughlin’s 48-yard field goal as time expired in the first half pushed Indianapolis’ advantage to 13-7.

–Field Level Media

Marcus Brady was hired as offensive coordinator in 2021. (File Photo Indianapolis Colts Rookie Minicamp On Friday May 11 2018

Colts fire offensive coordinator Marcus Brady

Offensive coordinator Marcus Brady was fired by the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday in the aftermath of a quarterback change and second consecutive loss.

Brady, in his fifth season as an assistant with the Colts, was named offensive coordinator in 2021.

Indianapolis has 26 total points the past two games, resulting in losses to the Tennessee Titans (19-10) and Washington Commanders (17-16).

“This was an incredibly hard decision, but one I felt needed to be made in the best interest of the team,” head coach Frank Reich said in a statement. “I appreciate Marcus’s commitment to the organization, and he made a significant contribution to our offensive success over the last five seasons. I wish him the best moving forward.”

The Colts (3-4-1) are on the road the next two games — at New England and Las Vegas — before hosting the Philadelphia Eagles (7-0), but there could be much to address for Reich.

Colts owner Jim Irsay met with Reich and general manager Chris Ballard after the team flight home from Nashville two weeks ago looking for stability in the offense.

But the one constant for the Colts in recent seasons has been change at quarterback.

The revolving door shuffled Matt Ryan to the bench the day after Reich’s meeting with Irsay. Ryan, acquired via trade from the Atlanta Falcons, replaced Carson Wentz (dealt to Washington), who was a one-year stopgap upon the retirement of Philip Rivers. Rivers lasted one season (2020) and pushed 2019 starter Jacoby Brissett to the bench.

Andrew Luck had 39 touchdowns and 10 wins in 2018 before his unexpected retirement the following summer.

With Ryan benched, Indianapolis turned to Sam Ehlinger at quarterback in Week 8. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 201 yards but the Colts dropped to 30th in the NFL in points (16.1 per game) and lost more ground in the AFC South division to the Titans (5-2).

A running game expected to be one of the NFL’s best spun its tires and now rates 29th in the NFL at 87.8 yards per game and 3.71 yards per carry. Touted MVP candidate Jonathan Taylor has fumbled twice and scored only one rushing touchdown, which came in the regular-season opener at Houston, in six games.

Brady, 43, had been a part of the QB churn since was hired by the Colts in 2018 as assistant quarterbacks coach. He was the team’s quarterbacks coach from 2019-20 before being promoted to offensive coordinator.

–Field Level Media

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) leaves the field after losing to the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Oct. 23, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Nfl Indianapolis Colts At Tennessee Titans

‘Disappointed’ Matt Ryan ready to accept Colts’ backup role

Matt Ryan is a backup quarterback for the first time in his 15-season NFL career and it isn’t a tag he’s thrilled about.

Ryan met with reporters Wednesday, two days after learning he was being demoted by the Indianapolis Colts, and said he was disappointed but will embrace the role as the understudy to unproven Sam Ehlinger.

Ryan sustained a separated passing shoulder during last Sunday’s 19-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans but the Colts made it clear that it was performance and not the injury that derailed Ryan’s stint as the team’s starting quarterback.

“As a player, as a competitor, you want to be out there, you want to go,” Ryan said. “It’s part of the deal in this league, you got to produce and you gotta go out there and play. Frustrated that we weren’t able to do that in the first seven games. You move forward.

“Life in this league is week to week and production has to be there. Obviously disappointed personally, but here for the team.”

Ryan, 37, was acquired from the Atlanta Falcons in the offseason and was supposed to end the Indianapolis quarterback carousel that followed Andrew Luck’s stunning retirement shortly before the 2019 season.

Instead, the move has been a colossal mistake as Ryan has thrown nine interceptions to go with three fumbles (losing one), and he has been sacked 24 times. He has passed for 2,008 yards and nine touchdowns.

“Obviously it hasn’t been the level of production we all would’ve wanted,” Ryan said. “I would’ve liked to play a lot better, too. We’re still seven games into it and there’s a long way to go, but I appreciate everybody taking ownership and I’ve tried to do that myself as well.”

Ryan passed for 3,968 yards for the Falcons last season after topping 4,000 in the each of the previous 10 campaigns. He had 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

But the Colts studied Ryan and confidently felt he was the right guy to replace 2021 starter Carson Wentz.

Instead, second-year pro Ehlinger, a sixth-round pick in 2021, will make his first NFL start on Sunday against the Washington Commanders.

“I love Sam,” Ryan said. “He’s been awesome from the minute I got here. I just told him, any way I can help, you let me know. As a player you gotta go out there and cut it loose and go play your game. Everybody’s individual game is different, go play yours and he’ll do a good job for us.

“… My job this week is to help support Sam, get my shoulder right and help him any way that I can.”

Veteran Nick Foles will back up Ehlinger on Sunday.

Ryan ranks seventh in NFL history with 61,743 passing yards and ninth with 376 touchdown passes.

–Field Level Media

Sep 25, 2022; Tampa, Florida, USA;  Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) stiff arms Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Logan Ryan (26) in the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Bucs rule out three defensive players vs. Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Logan Ryan, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting have been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the host Pittsburgh Steelers, coach Todd Bowles announced Friday.

Ryan and Hicks are dealing with foot injuries, while Murphy-Bunting is nursing a quad injury. All three players did not practice this week for the Buccaneers (3-2).

Safety Mike Edwards (elbow) will be a game-time decision, Bowles said. Edwards and Murphy-Bunting were injured in Tampa Bay’s 21-15 victory over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday, while Ryan is in line to miss his second straight game.

Keanu Neal has stepped up in Ryan’s absence, while Murphy-Bunting received his first playing time this season after Carlton Davis exited Sunday’s game with a hip injury. Davis has been a full participant in practice this week.

Bowles said he feels confident in his team’s depth in the secondary.

“Well, it’s big for the young guys to step up,” Bowles said. “They’ve trained all year. We keep people on this team for a reason and at some point, everyone’s going to have to contribute when it’s their turn.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Matt Ryan (2) is tackled by Tennessee Titans cornerback Roger McCreary (21) during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson/IndyStar-USA TODAY NETWORK

Loss words: Colts RB Nyheim Hines blames revolving door at QB

Matt Ryan might not be the problem in Indianapolis, but the revolving door at quarterback is killing the Colts, in the estimation of running back Nyheim Hines.

Ryan, sacked 15 times in four games, has the team at 1-2-1 in his first season with the Colts, following one-and-done starters Carson Wentz (2021), Philip Rivers (2020), Jacoby Brissett (2019) and the final season from Andrew Luck (2018).

Indianapolis lost to the Tennessee Titans 24-17 on Sunday.

Offense has been hard to come by for the Colts, who are last in the AFC with 57 points and ahead of only the 49ers (47 points entering their Week 4 game Monday night).

“Not an excuse, but every year we have a new quarterback. So each year we have growing pains while we sit here and watch Tennessee, which has had (Ryan) Tannehill, what, my whole career? And each year we’re restarting and we have to turn the page,” Hines said.

“So that sucks a little bit, too, that most teams we play have an established guy, but that doesn’t matter. We have figured it out and we will figure it out.”

Ryan has eight turnovers — five interceptions, three fumbles — but is completing 66.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns.

Head coach Frank Reich said quarterback play is not the issue. Ryan led a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 but continues to take a pounding. Reich said there are more “free rushers” breaking through than he can recall and needs better blocking from his front five.

He said Ryan will be the last to point a finger if it ever happens at all.

“He is unflappable,” Reich said. “He’s already onto the next.”

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) reacts with New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) (not shown) on the field after the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Falcons use bonus day as ‘deadline’ for Matt Ryan trade

Clarity on the quarterback situation for the Atlanta Falcons is expected to arrive on Monday, when Matt Ryan’s delayed roster bonus of $7.5 million becomes guaranteed.

ESPN reported Monday that the Falcons informed interested teams that the bonus date, delayed from the start of the league year last week, is the deadline for a trade involving Ryan.

His bonus becomes fully guaranteed at 4 p.m. ET on Monday, according to reports.

The Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts are thought to be in the market while also considering Baker Mayfield, who was left without a seat in the quarterback carousel when the Browns acquired Deshaun Watson.

Multiple reports indicate Mayfield prefers the Colts, but his leverage is limited.

Teams might be willing to roll the dice for Ryan, who is due $51.8 million combined the next two seasons and has a salary cap hit of $40.5 million if traded.

The New Orleans Saints could have interest but it’s doubtful the Falcons would be willing to trade their 14-year starter to a division rival.

Ryan turns 37 in May but reportedly asked for a new three-year deal as the market value for starters continues to explode behind new contracts for Aaron Rodgers (three years, $150 million) and Deshaun Watson (five years, $230 million).

Ryan had 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 2021 as the Falcons competed into December despite a roster that shouted “rebuild.”

The No. 1 overall pick in 2008, Ryan has 59,735 career passing yards and 367 TD passes.

–Field Level Media

Dec 12, 2021; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) runs the ball ahead of New York Giants safety Logan Ryan (23) during the first half at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

NFL transaction roundup: S Logan Ryan joins Bucs

Veteran safety Logan Ryan agreed to terms on a contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

The move comes one day after Ryan was released by the New York Giants.

A team captain with the Giants, Ryan recorded a career-high 117 tackles to go along with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 15 games (all starts) last season.

Ryan, 31, has 705 tackles, 18 interceptions and 13 sacks in 140 career games with the New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans and Giants. He was a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams with the Patriots, who selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.

–Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

Financial terms were not disclosed for Vander Esch, who collected 77 tackles, one sack and one interception in 17 games (16 starts) last season.

Vander Esch, 26, has 349 tackles, 2.5 sacks and three picks in 52 career games (46 starts) since being selected by the Cowboys with the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

–Defensive lineman DeShawn Williams signed a one-year contract with the Denver Broncos.

Financial terms were not disclosed by the team for Williams, who recorded a career-high 39 tackles to go along with one sack in 15 games (eight starts) last season.

Williams, 29, has 78 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one interception in 33 career games (19 starts) with the Cincinnati Bengals and Broncos.

–Field Level Media

Sep 20, 2020; Arlington, Texas, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) talks with owner Arthur Blank prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons’ owner: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones trades not ‘off limits’

Rebuilding comes with challenging decisions, and the Atlanta Falcons are facing both in the view of owner Arthur Blank.

Blank is set to hire a new general manager and head coach for the Falcons. Atlanta has the fourth overall pick in the 2021 draft, little cap room and two massive contracts anchoring the ledger.

Quarterback Matt Ryan will count $40.9 million against the 2021 salary cap, which could be as low as $175 million. Wide receiver Julio Jones has a $23.05 million cap number.

“You cannot hire the very best people you can hire, whether it be general managers or head coaches, and then tie their hands and tell them, well, this person is off limits and that one is off limits and that one,” Blank told the team’s website. “What you’re asking them for, which is not off limits and needs to be probed deeply, do they have a championship plan, do they have a plan on turning around the franchise sooner rather than later so we’re winning in 2021? Do we have a plan that’s sustainable over a long period of time so we can make sure this team is competitive not just for the next year or two but over a longer period of time than that? … However that affects certain players, it affects certain players.”

Blank remained committed to head coach Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff, who was with the team when Ryan and Jones were drafted. But a 4-12 season led Blank to clean house. A wide-ranging roster reset could soon follow.

“I think it’s a mistake for an owner to lay out a set of dictates like that for general manager and head coach,” Blank said. “If I was a general manager or head coach considering this opportunity and I heard an owner say that, to me I’d be a little nervous because I think that’s crossing a line for me that I don’t believe an owner should ever cross.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 8, 2020; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Falcons linebacker Foyesade Oluokun (54) tackles Denver Broncos quarterback Drew Lock (3) for a loss during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan guides Falcons past Broncos

Matt Ryan threw for three touchdowns and the Atlanta Falcons continued their resurgence under interim coach Raheem Morris with a 34-27 victory against the visiting Denver Broncos on Sunday afternoon at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Ryan finished 25-of-35 passing for 284 yards and an interception. Olamide Zaccheaus racked up 103 receiving yards on four catches — all in the first half.

The Falcons (3-6) are 3-1 with Morris in charge after the firing of coach Dan Quinn last month. This marked Atlanta’s first victory in five home games this season.

Denver quarterback Drew Lock was 25-of-48 passing for 313 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also led the Broncos on the ground with 47 yards on six carries, with his 10-yard run with 1:52 to play helping cut the deficit to 34-27 on a drive that covered 82 yards in five plays.

Atlanta then recovered its second onside kick of the quarter. After the Falcons punted, Denver took over at its own 20-yard line with 38 seconds left but failed to gain yardage on four snaps.

The Broncos (3-5), trailing 27-6 in the third quarter, were unable to overcome a 21-point deficit as they did a week earlier against the Los Angeles Chargers. Still, they scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns.

The scoring began with Younghoe Koo’s 52-yard field goal for the Falcons. Next came Ryan’s 51-yard pass to Zaccheaus with 1:24 left in the opening quarter.

Ryan hooked up with Brandon Powell for a 9-yard touchdown play and Koo made a 35-yard field goal as the Falcons led 20-3 at halftime. Atlanta’s first-half scoring drives consisted of 10, 11, nine and 12 plays.

Ryan had 216 first-half passing yards, with nearly half of those going to Zaccheaus.

The Broncos, who had their practice schedule disrupted for the second week in a row because of coronavirus concerns, were limited to Brandon McManus field goals of 43 and 41 yards through three quarters. Their first touchdown came on Lock’s 20-yard pass play to Jerry Jeudy with 13:15 remaining.

But thoughts of another comeback were dashed on their next possession when Lock was intercepted by Ricardo Allen. Atlanta converted two plays later on Todd Gurley’s 4-yard touchdown run.

Lock’s 9-yard pass to Tim Patrick with 3:53 left trimmed the margin, but Atlanta recovered an onside kick.

Gurley was the game’s top rusher with 53 yards on 19 attempts.

–Field Level Media