INDIANAPOLIS (AP)The Indianapolis Colts have tried just about everything to change directions this season.
A new coach didn’t work. A new play-caller didn’t work. And on Monday night, their third starting quarterback of the season, Nick Foles, didn’t work, either.
Foles threw three interceptions, took seven sacks and went 0 for 10 on third down in his first Colts start as Indianapolis endured another ugly prime-time loss, 20-3 to the Los Angeles Chargers. It was so bad that interim coach Jeff Saturday was asked if he considered pulling Foles for backup Sam Ehlinger.
”I said I didn’t think a change was going to help us move the ball any more effectively,” Saturday said. ”I don’t think making another change is going to spark it. Sam has had his shot as well. I wasn’t here when that happened. As Nick was practicing, we felt like he gave us the best opportunity and unfortunately tonight was not his night.”
It’s not just Foles – and it hasn’t been just one night for Indy (4-10-1), which lost its fifth straight.
The playoff-bound Chargers (9-6) took full advantage of the miscues by intercepting Foles twice in the first quarter, adding a third pick in the third quarter and stopping the Colts at every turn.
Foles wound up 17 of 29 for 143 yards.
Ryan was brought in provide much-needed stability at quarterback. Instead, his first tenure as the starter ended with a flurry of turnovers, hits and sacks that resulted in an injury to his throwing shoulder.
Then the Colts turned to Ehlinger, a second-year quarterback who had never thrown an NFL pass. The predictable results: 11 sacks and 19 total points in two losses before coach Frank Reich was fired. Saturday took over and reinstalled Ryan as the starter.
Ryan won Saturday’s debut game at Las Vegas, then failed to top the 20-point mark in the next three games and was unable to move Indy in the second half at Minnesota, which allowed the Vikings to rally from a 33-0 halftime deficit to win 39-36 in overtime.
Foles got his turn this week and it didn’t fare any better. His first snaps with the starting offense since training camp came Wednesday, and the rust was apparent Monday night.
”Anytime there’s change, you try to get acclimated as fast as you can and get the timing down,” Foles said. ”We had a really good week of practice and unfortunately the execution wasn’t good enough to win this game.”
The once high-scoring Colts have failed to score a touchdown four times this season – twice with Ryan and once each with Ehlinger and Foles – and have only topped 20 points three times.
Indy has mixed and matched lineups along the highest-paid offensive line in the NFL, too, with little success. It has allowed 56 sacks, the league’s second-highest total through 15 games.
With 2021 NFL rushing champion Jonathan Taylor on injured reserve and only two games remaining, the Colts seem to be running out of options.
”I want to see them play a consistent, full game,” Saturday said of his remaining goals. ”We just haven’t put it together yet. We’ll talk about this one, situational football, on third down, they convert, we don’t, they stay on the field and fatigue you. We didn’t.”
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