Nobody likes an unhappy ending to a story, but we may have possibly received one today. The Indianapolis Colts have decided to bench quarterback Matt Ryan in favor of Sam Ehlinger, who is likely to start for the remainder of their season.
Through Week 7 of this year, Ryan has totaled 2008 yards, 9 touchdowns, 9 interceptions on 297 passing attempts. His number were far from great, but Ryan was on pace to be sacked 58 times, 10 sacks greater than his worst season while in Atlanta.
"Right now the move is for Sam [Ehlinger] to be the starter for the rest of the season."— Mike Sando (@SandoNFL) October 24, 2022
You may be thinking, “Wait, this is a Falcons’ website!” — and you would be correct. But Ryan is without a doubt the best quarterback in Falcons’ history, and it’s sad to see his season and possibly NFL career come to this. When the Falcons traded Ryan to the Colts in exchange for a third-round pick, it was expected to be a fresh start for the veteran quarterback. Many folks, including myself, felt like Ryan was in a great spot where the Colts had an opportunity to make some noise in the playoffs. Instead, the Colts are 3-3-1 and in second place in the AFC South. Ryan currently leads all quarterbacks in interceptions (9) and is tied for being sacked the most times (24) along with Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Is that all Ryan’s fault? We will save that for our Colts hub to decide, but Indianapolis hasn’t had the stout run game, beefy offensive line or stingy defense we expected. But whatever the issue is, Ryan was on pace to throw a career-high 22 interceptions in 2022, and it was enough for the Colts to put him on the bench.
As fans, we always want to see our favorite players succeed, and when they leave your team (as long as they don’t go to the New Orleans Saints) that usually remains the case. Such as with Julio Jones who is arguably the most talented player in Falcons’ history. With the Titans, Jones only played in 10 games and scored one time. in 2022, Jones is now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he has only caught four passes.
For the Falcons, you have to give credit to general manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith. They ultimately made the unpopular decisions to trade away both Ryan and Jones, and reflecting now on both of those trades, they won by a mile. The Falcons will have more cap space this offseason than they’ve had in quite some time and both Ryan and Jones aren’t even seeing the field in their current situations.
As a fan, I wish both players the best and will never forget the impact and joy they brought the Falcons’ franchise over the years. It’s sad to see them going out the way that they are, but that’s usually what happens when star players leave franchises where they made a huge impact.