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Colts’ Jeff Saturday explains decision to start Matt Ryan, bench Sam Ehlinger vs. Raiders

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Back on Ice.

Jeff Saturday is likely enjoying his first Victory Monday as head coach after his Colts debut resulted in a 25-20 win over the hapless  Raiders, and he has a returning Matt Ryan in part to thank for that.

The first major coaching decision for Saturday’s Colts paid off on Sunday: Ryan was renamed starter minutes prior to the start of the matchup, thus ending the short-lived Sam Ehlinger era in Indianapolis.

Following the game, Saturday explained his decision, and it was very much in line with what you’d expect:

I saw Matt throw — that was the first time I’d seen him throw, he was coming off of an injury, and he put a good practice together on Thursday. Friday, I told him he was gonna go back-to-back, and again, this my first experience ever seeing him throw, and he looked really good. I went and talked to the staff on Friday afternoon, but I had a pretty — I knew what I was gonna do. And I knew everybody was with it. I felt like Matt gave us the best position to win.

MORE: Four things Jeff Saturday did right in his winning Colts coaching debut

Of course, the mechanics surrounding the Ryan benching and the decision to start Ehlinger in recent weeks have been bizarre. Reports indicated owner Jim Irsay put pressure on former head coach Frank Reich to bench Ryan in favor of Ehlinger, with Ryan also suffering from a vague shoulder injury.

The team demoted Ryan to the bench for the remainder of the 2022 season … until the head coaching change was made.

Whatever the case may be, Ryan certainly rewarded Saturday’s faith in him, going 21-of-28 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown in the win, the first of the Saturday tenure.

Indianapolis now sits at 4-5-1 and Sundays will be Saturday’s — and Ryan’s — from here on out.


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