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LAS VEGAS — Just weeks after the Colts named Sam Ehlinger the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, veteran Matt Ryan returned to the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Raiders — the team’s first under interim coach Jeff Saturday.

The Colts had made the move to Ehlinger before their Week 8 game against the Washington Commanders after Ryan suffered a shoulder separation. At the time, coach Frank Reich — who was fired Monday and replaced by Saturday — said the move was intended to be permanent. Owner Jim Irsay heavily influenced the decision, sources told ESPN.

But Ryan returned to practice this week and, it seems, Saturday had a change of heart. The decision comes after Saturday, during his introductory news conference, said Ehlinger would remain the starting quarterback.

But by Friday, Saturday had started to backtrack.

Asked about how he reached the decision to start Ehlinger, Saturday said, “I evaluate all the time. I tell those guys, this is not a closed competition by any stretch of the imagination. I’m going to put the best 11 on it. So whatever we can do to win games, that’s what we’ll do. Both have had great weeks of practice. Sam, for a young guy, is an energetic guy. He brings a lot of pop. Matt, getting out there too, I was impressed. He was out there throwing it around.”

Saturday added, “It’ll be up to me who starts at quarterback,” when asked about the perception that Irsay was driving the decision.

The Colts were 0-2 with Ehlinger as their starter. In last week’s loss to the New England Patriots, the Colts had a historically poor offensive performance, going 0-for-14 on third-down attempts and generating 121 yards of total offense — their fewest since 1997.


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